This post is part of an occasional series focusing on Leadership Development Academy graduates and what they have done, personally and professionally, in the years following their LDA experience. Please contact us if you would like to be profiled here, or would like to recommend a graduate for us to feature.
Heidi Van Kirk
What are you doing now?
In the summer of 2019, I started my own business, Van Kirk Consulting, Inc., providing development consulting services to individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations throughout Rock County.
I also have a full time career, as the Executive Officer for South Central Wisconsin Builders Association, which I’m absolutely passionate about.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
This is a dream that changed course many times in my young life. When I was really young, I wanted to be a teacher.
As I got into dance and gymnastics from the ages of 4-15, I fully intended to go to school to be a choreographer and dance teacher.
In my later teen years, I wanted to serve our country and join the United States Navy, which I did in 1995.
I think we are always growing and evolving and should forever consider what we want to be when we “grow up” as a fluid idea.
How did LDA help you on your journey?
My experience with LDA changed my life. I had a solid skillset, passion, determination, and the creative energy necessary to succeed, but LDA helped me feel more confident in my place in our community.
I learned that I could take my skills and apply them to help with the betterment of our community. I also met a ton of new friends, colleagues, and mentors in the process.
What advice would you give a new LDA participant?
I would say that you can make your experience work for you, simply by immersing yourself in the opportunity. Embrace the entire process and you will feel the benefits, without a doubt. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Just like anything else.
Where do you volunteer?
I give my time in any way possible, whenever called upon. I volunteer at speaking engagements for local civic organizations and nonprofits, I serve various nonprofits and groups with development and board engagement, and I serve on the United Way Blackhawk Region’s Campaign Cabinet. I also volunteer to help with local theatre programs and groups.
Why have you stayed involved with LDA?
I believe in the organization and all that it provides to emerging leaders in our area. Without LDA, I wouldn’t have reached this point in my career with nearly as much confidence and certainty.
I believe the benefits and rewards of participating in LDA extend far beyond the time you spend with your class, and beyond your projects. It has the potential to impact your life for as long as you choose to engage with the organization and alumni opportunities.
This is why I serve on the Marketing and Alumni Committee. LDA is not just a one-year opportunity, it is the chance to be part of something great, long term.