Weekes, Wallace-Benjamin honored for nonprofit work
Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes and Council Board of Directors member Joan Wallace-Benjamin, President and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, were honored Wednesday by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network with Lifetime Achievement awards.
The awards were presented during MNN’s 10th Annual Conference at the Sheraton Framingham.
Wallace-Benjamin announced earlier this fall that she will retire from The Home at the end of 2017 after 15 years at the helm of the organization.
She said that she has only veered out of the nonprofit sector twice through the years, once to work as an executive recruiter for two years – “I call that my for-profit envy period; it was too boring” – and once to work in government, as Gov. Deval Patrick’s Chief of Staff, before “coming home to The Home.”
“Even though I am retiring, I will continue to serve in some way,” said Wallace-Benjamin, who also shared a number of life lessons she has learned, including “do what feeds your soul,” “take risks, try new things,” and “hire people who are smarter than you and have skills that you don’t have.”
Weekes, who has led the Providers’ Council since 1998 and was a founding board member of MNN, was honored for his local and national leadership in the nonprofit sector.
He said growing up in Harlem at the height of the Civil Rights movement, through the turbulent 1960s into the ‘70s, he felt a calling to be a part of it and to “do a little something to advance someone’s life, advance social justice and help find our commonality as human beings.”
He also spoke of advancing what is right, just and fair.
Often, we hesitate, Weekes said, “because we’re waiting for the perfect opportunity. But you know that perfect can be the enemy of good. When you look in the mirror, it’s about courage … because we do know what is right to do.”