After a 20 year career as an executive at Polaroid and a stint with another private company, Roberta Hurtig thought she'd stay in the corporate world till the end of her career. But after 9/11 and her sister was diagnosed with cancer, Hurtig began to rethink what she wanted to do with the last phase of her career.
"I was over 50 and I thought, if not now, when. I've always been a long time volunteer. I was active with Big Sister organization and was on the board. It was a time for me to match my passion for my service with the wonderful experiences I've had."
She landed a job as executive director of Samaritans, a suicide prevention organization in Boston. Hurtig found that her extensive experience in the corporate world from marketing to sales and development translated well to the nonprofit world. "I ran service organizations and the heart of what we do at Samaritans is training people to provide great customer service."
She finds her work incredibly satisfying in a way that her corporate career never was. "At the end of our lives, how many of us say they wish they negotiated one more contract or oversaw another merger? It's really about the difference you make in the lives of others. I feel fortunate that I've been able to apply what I've learned in my career to this work."