Submitted by Susan Kolman
At 50, after successfully climbing the corporate ladder in an international consulting firm, I traded in my business suits and briefcase for chef coats, pastry bags and a new career as a pastry chef. I was where I was meant to be – working hard, but smiling every day.
Life changed again seven years ago, when my husband and I relocated to Arizona. While my favorite place is the kitchen, it was time to end the crazy 70-hour restaurant workweeks. Becoming a part-time pastry instructor, I now enjoy the best of all worlds – loving the kitchen and time to volunteer.
The first time I visited the Heard Museum something magical happened – I felt at home. Joining the Museum led to joining the volunteer arm, the Heard Guild. As one of 450 Guild volunteers, I contribute my talents and skills while learning and connecting to the history, art, and culture of native peoples of the Americas. Not one to sit on the sidelines, I’ve chaired a variety of committees, worked closely with staff in producing two successful fundraisers, and worked in the gift shop. For the past four years, I’ve implemented cooking demonstrations during the annual Indian Fair featuring American Indian chefs showcasing the delicious and nutritious bounty of our local desert. Recently, I presented a baking workshop at the Desert Rain Café on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Sells, AZ.
Two years ago, I participated in Experience Matters’ Learning Lab, which helped me crystalize the challenges we face as the Guild evolves from a traditional volunteer model to a more robust, project-based partnership with Museum staff. In May 2014 I became President of the Heard Guild, blending my business and creative sides in leading the design and execution of a “recipe” for the future.