Hello there Buckeyes! It’s time to feature another wonderful alumnus from your ranks for this quarter’s Alumni Spotlight!
This time our spotlight is Mindy Derr, an avid philanthropist who founded and now serves as advisor for OhioHealth Fore Hope. Fore Hope is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that uses golf as an instrument for therapy designed to improve the lives of persons living with neurological and cognitive disorders. Through this organization, which Mindy founded in 1989, countless numbers of patrons have reaped the therapeutic benefits of golf and had their lives forever changed by Mindy’s vision.
Mindy Derr – Community Advocate and Founder/Consultant, Fore Hope (OhioHealth Fore Hope) (1981 – BA, Communications)
What brought you to The Ohio State University?
I am actually a nontraditional student. I entered school at a later age because I recognized that I needed certain life and career skills in order to achieve a career that I loved. Prior to enrolling, I had gone through a lot of “trial and error”, experimenting with different jobs for women. Then, I took the advice of a good friend who was also a professor here. I enrolled in night classes, working full time during the day, and eventually began taking classes full time as well.
How did your experience at Ohio State shape your career path?
Ohio State opened my eyes to what was possible in a bigger world. I am from a very small town, and so being here was a huge change for me. I also made tremendous friendships along the way that helped me better experience the vastness of what the world had to offer, both within and without the University. OSU “launched” me into the world of social programs. I got to enter into this world where I learned to network, raise funds, and more – and I wouldn’t have even been eligible to begin a career like that had I not gotten my degree. I took specific classes that helped improve my language and writing skills, but I also learned courage. It helped me make my life better, which continues to help me even now.
What advice or insight do you have for Ohio State alumni and students interested in your career field?
My advice for anyone, regardless of their career path, would be to follow their dreams and their mission. Go for it, give it all you’ve got, and don’t refuse the calling on your life. Don’t stomp on anyone else’s dreams along the way, either. Be wise about everything. Specifically, if you would like to begin a career in the world of community advocacy and nonprofit, make sure that you surround yourself with people who can support your mission. Be sure that you have a circle that include people who know about taxes and accounting, that you’re building a succession plan, and more. Begin with the end in mind, and be smart enough to know that you cannot possibly know everything.