I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I started working at CareNet 17 years ago, on September 18, 2000 when I was hired as Client Services Director. I remember my first day on the job; Chris asked if I would call a few donors and I never hesitated! Now, as those in the nonprofit world know, I have the title of being a “Professional Beggar!” God began to reveal to me gifts I never knew I had. I never knew I could be a public speaker or counsel someone seeking an abortion or ask for donations!
My years at CareNet have taught me to rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead and direct me in every aspect of my life. I have been able to share the gospel, see people healed from past abortions, speak to youth about abstinence, and teach others about the sanctity of human life. What an incredible journey this has been! It has brought so many people into my life from so many different backgrounds.
In 2008 I transferred to Director of Advancement when Esther Mollenhour came on staff as Client Services Director. CareNet’s board of directors encouraged our CEO, Chris Russell, to have someone in mind to fill her shoes when she retired. The obvious choice for them was me, however, I did not want it and declined the offer. At the time we had the most amazing employee, Esther, who was young, energetic and ready to conquer the world. She accepted the position and began training to become the next director.
About a year and a half ago the Lord started working on Esther to go in a different direction and she felt her time at CareNet was ending. She had been fighting this for many months. After surrendering to the call in her life she resigned at CareNet and the board began the process of looking for the replacement CEO in-training. Chris knew I was not interested in the position. I could see the concern she felt as she was looking toward her own retirement, but I never once felt the conviction or call to be the new CEO.
Then on March 7, 2016, everything changed. God revealed a different plan for my future when on my way home that day, a realization struck me. The Lord convicted me with such a strong overwhelming feeling of, “Margaret, did you ever once ask ME if you were Chris’ replacement?” WOW! I immediately called Esther and explained to her that I believed it was never the Lord’s intention for her to be the CEO, it was me the entire time, and she had needed to leave for this to have taken place!
I cried and asked the Lord to forgive me and I had Esther praying for me as well. I did not mention anything to anyone else at this point. That night I slept so well. I woke up and contacted my prayer warriors. I did not say what was going on– only that not wanting to go into detail, I had an unspoken prayer request. I asked them to pray for wisdom and God’s direction on something that had hit me like a ton of bricks.
I love my prayer warriors. No one questioned what was going on, yet I knew that each one of them had my back! I spoke with Chris that morning and probably went through an entire box of tissues. To know that I was the one the entire time was so scary and yet so honoring. I have confidence in knowing that I can do the job. I am ready to conquer this and I know I have the support of the Board of Directors and the community at large.
On May 5, 2016 our daughter Brooke graduated from APSU Nursing School and began working at Horizon Medical Center. Later that same year, she married her prince Daniel, on November 11, 2016. Their wedding was the best day ever! My husband, David, and I are so excited to see her thrive as a wife, nurse, and one day as a mom.
My official first day on the job was August 7, 2017. What an amazing thing to be this girl from Western PA and to see that with GOD all things are possible. I ask you to pray for our transition. Chris will remain on staff for a short time before she retires and enjoys her farm and family. I have BIG shoes to fill, but I feel very confident because of Chris’ legacy, her faithful training and her love for LIFE!
I invite you to partner with CareNet. Let’s work together to make a difference, to show our community they are loved, valued and respected!
CEO, CareNet Pregnancy Medical Center