Tampa Bay Business Women Awards 2023: Mariah Hayden

Mariah Hayden joined the New Life Village team, in 2016, after being introduced to the charity as a volunteer. She is currently the executive director.

Familiar with the effects of childhood trauma from her graduate work, and personal experiences, as well as with the impact that mental health challenges have on a family, Hayden found a “home” in the dynamic mission of New Life Village.

HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO EVOLVE AND GROW AS A LEADER?

I meet with mentors regularly. I also attend certificate classes at the Nonprofit Leadership Center. I am applying for a doctorate program with the University of South Florida. But most important, I must monitor the culture of my leadership which includes a lot of hard talks with myself. I do this by trying my best to cultivate a team that will lead our agency to be bigger and better. I take their feedback to heart and continually try to put myself in their shoes and build a humble and evolving culture. If I catch myself getting frustrated with someone’s behavior, I try to look within myself and ask, “Why did that behavior/reaction trigger me? Do I do that same thing with which I am annoyed?” Usually, the answer is yes, and that’s where the hard work lies.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST LESSON IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY?

Faith in yourself, and your journey, is key. I have learned that I can do anything, even if I don’t know how to do it. If I just keep asking questions, sometimes the same question more than once. The path will eventually show itself to me. Then all I need to do is follow the breadcrumbs.

I have also learned that only successful people fail. Don’t be afraid to fail or “not know,” that is when lessons are learned.

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