A phone call out of the blue prompted Catherine Meloy to trade in her fast-paced career as a Clear Channel executive and become president of Goodwill of the Greater Washington area.
"I was in broadcasting for 25 years and loved what I did. Then one day I got a call from a friend who is a headhunter who wondered if I knew anyone interested in being president of Goodwill. That was July of 2003. Two weeks later I got the job. I was the perfect age - too early for retirement and had a strong business background that gave me an edge."
Though Meloy had been thinking about retirement and not changing careers, she did have some experience in the nonprofit world, serving on several nonprofit boards. Her biggest challenge was getting up to speed in a new industry. Goodwill gets 95 percent of its revenue from the businesses it runs (which includes retail, landscaping and pest control). "I had never been in the retail business. I needed to bone up on the nuances of the business lines I was running. But when you run one business and can operate it well, you can operate any business."
Meloy says she finds a different kind of satisfaction heading Goodwill, which is in the business of training, educating and finding jobs for people who have disadvantages and disabilities. "I wasn't expecting to do this but I'm so glad I did. It is exciting to be engaged in something I never did before. I'm far better today than if I had stayed in broadcasting. It's a new world - it has extended the time I plan to continue working. Retirement is not even on my radar screen. I don't even think of it."