At this month’s board meeting, we honored directors Deidre Belk and Tony Hanlin as they step down from their many years of board service to Sojourner. We are very grateful for their leadership and commitment to Sojourner. Their perspectives and insight into the issue of domestic violence in our communities have been invaluable and they will be missed! Read on to learn more about their experience with Sojourner.
How did you come to serve on Sojourner’s Board of Directors?
Deidre: I came to Sojourner as a volunteer overnight advocate. A few years later, there was an open position that was a good fit for me. I had the pleasure of filling the role of Finance and Human Resources Manager for about 8 years. After my retirement 10 years ago, I was honored with an invitation to join the Board of Directors.
Tony: I was invited to apply to the Board by Executive Director Helen Chargo and started in January 2011.
What were some of the most fulfilling parts of your time with Sojourner?
Deidre: My involvement with Sojourner over the last 20 plus years has given me a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that I have contributed, in my own small way, to Sojourner’s mission.
Tony: Working with the other Board members and seeing the incredible dedication of the Sojourner Staff.
What messages would you like to send to the community about Sojourner and its impact?
Deidre: Sojourner’s dedicated, knowledgeable staff brings a high level of expertise, caring and passion to the work they do with our client families, and in educating the community about domestic abuse and safety issues. Their compassionate work inspires our clients to emulate our namesake, Sojourner Truth who said: “I will not let my life’s light be determined by the darkness around me.”
Tony: The residents of western Hennepin County should know what an amazing resource that is available to them at critical times (i.e. domestic and elder abuse, sexual assault). These resources have had a profoundly positive effect on thousands of survivors over the past 40+ years! Also, community outreach programs such as SafeU have reached out to hundreds of youths with the mission to educate regarding safe and healthy relationships.
Deidre C. Belk was born and raised in Minneapolis and moved to the western suburbs over 40 years ago. She has three wonderful daughters and one perfect grandson. Deidre has held various positions in her professional life but shares that her employment at Sojourner was by far the highlight of her career.
Tony Hanlin retired from the Hopkins Police Department as a Captain after 30+ years of service. He currently works part-time as a Desk Officer with the Plymouth PD and volunteers with the Glen Lake Optimist Club and the Plymouth Crime and Fire Prevention Fund. In his free time, he enjoys golf, scuba diving, boating and spending time with his lovely wife of 31+ years, Kathy.