20 under 40: Lisa Durkin
Published: November 30, 2012
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Lisa Durkin, deputy executive director at United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, has values that are aligned with the mission of her agency in order to have a meaningful career at the social service organization.
“I set specific goals and prioritize by where I can make the biggest contribution. In terms of success, I think it’s important to take responsibility for your own personal and professional development, and sometimes opportunities present themselves and other times they need to be sought out,” she says.
Durkin started at UNC right out of college as a housing counselor, working in the Community Services Department. At that time, there were three staff members and about six different programs in that department. Nine years later, she was the community services director, supervising 15 staff and more than 20 programs. “All of the changes throughout those years are what motivated me and kept me excited about working at this organization. There was always a very strong sense of being part of a team.”
In 2010, she was promoted to deputy executive director and has had the opportunity to become better acquainted with UNC’s child care, older adults, youth and education/revitalization programs. “This field of work is a continuous learning process and this particular agency is a wonderful place to work every day,” she says.
Executive Director Mike Hanley has been a mentor, teacher and friend. “I’ve learned from his example that leadership really begins with character and commitment.”
She advises those starting out to be your authentic self. “People will forgive all of your mistakes and imperfections if they trust you and respect your character,” she says.
She is part of a large family and is especially close to her two sisters.