Her Proudest Project
One of the projects that Barbara is the most proud of is her role in founding the hospice program in her community. When Barbara was 19, her father died of a brain tumor at a time when there was no hospice care available to him. And when Barbara sees a need in her community, she finds a solution. So she spent the next 40 years working to support the development of hospice services in her region — chairing task forces, chairing the Community Hospice Board of Directors, and helping to establish the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Sahara Africa.
“I’m very glad that the experience of my father’s dying has now culminated in the growth and presence of hospice, not only in my life, but in the communities that I’m a part of,” says Barbara. She is grateful that her mother and stepfather both had meaningful hospice experiences years later.
Her daughter also continues that legacy, as an advisor to a newly formed pediatric hospice in Minnesota.
Lighting the Torches of Others
Barbara says that she gets her leadership qualities from her parents, who were active civic leaders in in Minneapolis Minnesota. “But I’m equally comfortable being a supportive follower,” says Barbara. “That’s important to me, too.”
She has founded countless initiatives and organizations — too many to mention here — but Barbara is never afraid to let others take the lead. “I’m very proud of having helped start organizations that are now vital, strong and independent of me as a founder.”
She finds it very important to support the next generation of leaders. “We are in a very difficult time in this country and in this world, and I think it’s important that we support and create the space and opportunity for next generation leadership to emerge,
She takes great pride in seeing her god daughter and several other young professionals who came to love Great Camp Sagamore as children now grow up and become members of the Board of Directors. “It gives me enormous delight to watch Sagamore become the priority commitment of another generation.”
Her foundation, the Nordlys Foundation — Nordlys means Northern Lights in Norwegian— works to establish paid internships to provide opportunities for the next generation and to inspire their commitment to the Adirondacks, the environment, the hospice, the arts, their communities and the global community.
Barbara shared one of her favorite quotes that really communicates her feelings about empowering new leaders:
At my age … people often ask me if I’m passing the torch. I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much, and I’m using it to light the torches of others. Because only if each of us has a torch will there be enough light. –Gloria Steinem