On this episode of What Compassion Accomplishes, Cory and Becca talk with Bea Black, CEO of the WCA! Find out Bea's "why" and what motivates her for this line of work.
If you or someone you care about have experienced domestic, dating or sexual violence please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or one of the WCA's 24-hour hotlines at 208-343-7025 or 208-345-7273.
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Unknown Speaker 0:01
Welcome to what compassion accomplishes a podcast dedicated to sharing information, ideas and resources about domestic abuse and sexual assault. The topics discussed in this podcast, including survivor stories, supportive services, and domestic abuse or sexual violence can be difficult. And we urge you to listen with care. Our hosts are not licensed counselors or mental health professionals. If you or someone you care about have experienced domestic dating, or sexual violence, please call the WCA 24 hour hotline at 208-343-7025 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. You can also find more resources in the description of this podcast
Cory Mikhals 0:52
Hi this is Cory Mikhals. And this week on what compassion accomplishes. I'm so honored to have Becca Maguire in here, once again, outreach specialist with the WCA. And one of my favorite people Bea Black CEO of the WCA. Becca, Bea. Thank you for being in here.
Bea Black 1:13
Thank you for having us, Cory. It's an honor.
Cory Mikhals 1:17
Absolutely. No, the honor is all mine. And really this one? I think, Becca, we were talking about it that, you know, we really needed to more than just have a quick chat with Bea. Because I just love her story. I love her passion. And so we wanted to have this, this time to really be able to introduce Bea it and to be able to share with you her passion for the WCA and the cause. So let's start with that bea, first of all, how long have you been with the WCA.
Bea Black 1:53
So I have had the privilege of being there now for 13 years. And I tell people that I am one of those blessed individuals that spent 33 years training for this job. I just didn't know this was the job I was training for.
Cory Mikhals 2:09
So that leads us right into what what is your why, it's interesting,
Bea Black 2:15
I have always had an interest in it's ironic, I guess, in numbers. And so I actually started my career in accounting work, got my CPA degree and then worked in small entrepreneurial companies, mostly related to accounting and also related to software development. So that was that was really my background, spent six years have owning a small business downtown was called Bea's business products and gifts. And then what led me into the nonprofit world is I had the opportunity using that accounting background, to become the property manager for the tax credit properties that neighborhood housing services had. So that was really my first foray into nonprofit work. And also, frankly, exposure to the grant world, and better understanding of a lot of the issues that a large number of our community members around Boise face, namely, homelessness, the lack of affordable housing. And I think if some of those sound familiar right now, we've been there for a long time, having to try to figure out, you know, what are we going to do around housing. So with that background, I became aware of the position at the WCA. And it just felt like it was something I really wanted to do, because to me, at the heart of the work that the WCA does, is to help individuals find or regain their sense of self worth. And to me that is absolutely the most important thing that any of us have, is our sense of self worth. If you have it, I believe that you can do anything and overcome any obstacle. If you don't have it. It's really pretty hard to navigate this world.
Cory Mikhals 4:13
I can't agree more. I've always said your own self worth knowing that and having hope. Yes, if you have those two things, everything else can be figured out. I agree. And now, so when you first saw this opportunity with the WCA, what were you first thinking that this was something very different than what you had done in the past? What were you thinking at that moment?
Bea Black 4:45
It was very different. And I knew that I did not have obviously, from what I just described a background in this work. You know, I'm not I'm not a social worker. I've never been a clinician. I had not worked in the social service arena. But I felt that the skills that I did have could be brought to bare in the position of leadership. For one main reason, as a leader of an of any nonprofit, one of the most important things that you do is that you engage the community so that you can get the support that you need to be able to enable the work. I know myself, and I know that I could not do the work, you know, go back to school, maybe and get a clinical counseling degree, or a social work degree, I would want to bring everybody home with me. So I knew that I really couldn't, I'm not cut out for that. But I felt that given my years of working in sales and working in communication and working in customer support at that time for the different products that we had, I felt that I could bring those to bare, to engage and translate to our community, what our needs were, and what issues we were dealing with and our clients were dealing with, so that we could engage the community in supporting our work. And that's frankly, what I told the board at the time when I was going through the interview process is I'm not a subject matter expert. But I am a connector. And I know how to translate, if you will, from the very specific work that we do at the WCA on behalf of clients and those who have suffered trauma to the community to help them understand. Why do we need your engagement? Why do we need your help?
When you got the job, and started, started doing the work and started to get immersed into "Okay, where have they been? Where Where do we need to add?" What was what was the biggest thing that was a surprise to you?
There were a couple of instances that I can remember very vividly that that really cemented for me why this work is so important and actually changed my thinking on some of the nuances I began to understand much more deeply. What does it mean to be trauma informed for example? or What does it mean to have a triggering event? Those are words that are sort of thrown around. But I think until you talk to individuals who have been through trauma, and you begin to understand on a deeper level, how an instance or an act or even sometimes a word or a setting can bring back very painful memories. It's hard to really understand the depth of what goes on, and the work that is done. So we were doing a fun run. I remember and we had a young woman who was volunteering her time as a photographer. And so she came over to me, this was the memorial when that we do the first Sunday in October in honor of Susan Newby. And she came over to me and and I was thanking her for volunteering her time. And she just looked at me and she said, Well, of course I would. She said the WCA saved my life. And it just it just sort of took me aback. Because it was so it was so moving to me to meet somebody who literally felt that if it hadn't been for our organization, she would no longer be here. And many times over the following 12 years, I have had instances where individuals have come up after outreach presentations, or just being out in the community, working on events that that we put on where individuals have come up and said, "You saved my life or you saved my family members life or you helped my daughter." And and that is one of the reasons that I think many of us at the WCA remain so engaged and passionate and really excited and privileged to come to work. Wouldn't you say, Becca?
Becca Maguire 9:22
Oh, I agree. I agree. 100%. And that's very true. We when we go out in the community and we table I hear at least one story and we actually tabled this last week for Denim Day and a woman came up and she shared her story with me. And I had my interns and I told them I was like every single time we are out in the community and we are doing something someone comes up and they say this happened to me, you saved my life. You helped me realize my worth things like that and the important lesson of the work that we are doing at the WCA.
Cory Mikhals 9:58
Yeah, well and it's whenever you're dealing with something that is can be so emotionally draining. Because if you care, which if you are doing this type of work, you better care. And that's why you're in there. And through that care, you're okay cup starts getting depleted and depleted and depleted. And I know for me, it's those, those little moments like the WCA saved my life, saved my children's life. You know what? Those moments of affirmation, not that that's why you're doing it. But yet it is because we're doing this to be able to, to save lives and to better the lives and to give hope to so many individuals where hope has probably been gone for a while. And so knowing that that is happening, knowing that that is successful, that that's where the cup starts getting filled back up, and it gets you the, the emotional, and physical energy to keep going. Now, Becca, I mean, been on a couple of the episodes. Now, I don't know that I ever asked you though you just started during a pandemic, you just started with the WCA? What, what is your WHY?
Becca Maguire 11:26
Yeah, so I started the week we went into our stay at home order, I think I'd worked maybe five hours in the office and had to go home. But I actually was an outreach volunteer for four years before this position. So I watched the hunting ground back in 2016, for a Denim Day event. And I after watching that movie, I truly was taken aback with the horror that I had just seen. And it I knew, leaving watching that movie that I needed to do something, because there is no way that I can continue to let sexual assault happen, or domestic abuse happen. And just knowing that there's a organization in Boise that can help, I knew that I had to do something, whatever that was. So here I am.
Bea Black 12:18
and we are so grateful.
Becca Maguire 12:22
I love my job, I love the work that we do. I love the community that we are in and the ways that we can make Boise a better place.
Cory Mikhals 12:32
That's what every individual should strive for, is just making, making this world our world, a safer, better place. And we've got a ways to go. But you know what, the more we can just keep on going, the closer that we'll get to that day.
Bea Black 12:51
I would agree with you. And and I do think part of getting closer. And this is what we try so hard to do. Right Becca is to help individuals understand what are the nuances around abuse, right? What is it that what is it that that really means I know when I was growing up, I remember reading about victims of physical violence. But I know that I never really thought about domestic violence, other than physical violence. And so when you talk about our mission, statement of safety, healing and freedom, we talk about domestic abuse and sexual assault. And so the reason we use abuse is for the reason that abuse is so much larger than just physical. And it comes back to what we talked about before our why, which is when you think about the loss of a sense of self, it can happen in very subtle ways. And it is that eroding of the sense of self worth that ultimately allows one person to control the actions of another. And it can be done through exerting financial control and abuse. It can be done by belittling somebody. And it can it can be done in so many ways. I remember again, another instance I think I'd been at the WCA for about three years, and we had a young woman. And it was in one of the smaller school districts where they had a, I believe it was Junior High through high school. So it was a number of grades. And she approached us she wanted us to come and do a presentation at our school. And this was before we had all of the the work that we've done now with the youth, right, so it was just our regular presentation about us as an organization and what we do, but she wanted us to come because she had been very close to committing suicide because she had been in an abusive relationship. And the thing that struck me about that is that she was being abused by her so described boyfriend through her phone. And for me, abuse somebody through a phone was such a foreign concept to me. But she would have to take a picture of herself before she went to school, her boyfriend would weigh in on whether that was acceptable or not. And if it wasn't, then she would have to change clothes. So it was this constant belittling. And and you know, you're so lucky to have me, right? All this controlling behavior. And thank goodness, she was close enough to her family, that when she finally got to the point where she really was considering leaving the world, she did talk to her family, and they were able to intervene and take action. And as a result of that, she wanted to talk to her classmates, and her her schoolmates and just say, you know that you need to reach out if you if you experience something like this. So that's another instance that really helped me better, even better understand how subtle this can be, and how important it is, you know, when one of your first podcast was with our, with our young, with our young folks, and why it's so important for us to listen to them, and to not brush aside or belittle the ways that they interact and the things that they find important. Because if we do that, we are going to lose them. Maybe not physically, but we are going to lose them in terms of any kind of message we have.
Cory Mikhals 16:29
Bea that 's a beautiful way to put it in something that until you just said that I hadn't thought about that for a while now. But Becca, you see the other side, you don't know a world where ,not saying your child by any means. But literally you don't know a world without cell phones and computers and the Iiternet. So before when we talked about abuse, yes, a was the the big three, it was physical, it was mental and verbal. It was financial. But now now we have started adding more and more layers where abuse can come in through text messaging through controlling them through low jacking the spouse's phone or car. Yeah, I had a situation with a friend not a year or so ago where the ex husband had, but a tracking device on her car. And so all of this technology that has now added more and more ways to be able to access someone if they're if they're being stalked. It's scary.
Bea Black 17:39
Well, it really has and you know, any tool that we have, because really technology, it just is manifested itself in many different tools, any tool that we have can be used for bad or it can be used for good, right. And one of the issues is the bad stuff that is done can happen faster and be spread more widely. So you have an action that took place in the old days when I was growing up. And you'd have to have it be reported if it was going to get out to the to the public. Right. And that would be limiting who would actually see it and know about it. In today's world, that's not the case.
Becca Maguire 18:19
Yeah. And I think that a lot of the times with technology and abuse, a lot of the times victims have no idea it's even happening. Even just there are apps that people can download and hide and record phone calls. And a lot of the times people have no idea that this is even happening to them. It's really scary. It is scary.
Bea Black 18:40
Yeah, our court advocates deal with that a lot. And they they work with individuals to try to help them. As Becca said, they don't even know and so they try to help them figure out are they actually being tracked. Is there something that has happened or been changed on their phone so that they've lost their privacy really
Cory Mikhals 19:02
Well, and I think that if we hadn't already had that on the the list of topics that come for what compassion accomplishes, I think that's a real good one to add to the list is really to get in going a little more in depth into technology and abuse. And, and it can be a lot more subtle, like we had said in the ways that that abuse can start and how it can escalate ways to be able to to look for those those things, those those key little elements that are happening around you that maybe you just brushed under the rug. But no, you have to really actually pay attention to those things, and for our children for ourselves. But yeah, I think that's a great topic. We'll get more into that. I appreciate you both for being in here and and being on this episode of what compassion accomplishes.
Bea Black 20:00
Thank you so much.
Becca Maguire 20:01
Thank you so much Bea. I'm so happy that you were able to join us today.
Bea Black 20:06
Well, it is my pleasure and I would join the two of you anytime. Perfect.
Cory Mikhals 20:11
All right, well down in the description, any links, of course, the help lines, the National helpline, all of that is in there, and we will talk on the next episode of what compassion accomplishes.
Unknown Speaker 20:26
Thank you for listening to this episode of what compassion accomplishes. Again, if you or someone you know has experienced domestic abuse, dating or sexual violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the WCA's 24 hour hotline. 208-343-7025
Transcribed by https://otter.ai