Beth Maiden - Director of Erie County Community Foundation
In honor of Women's History Month, we are highlighting local women who have had a large impact on our community. Beth Maiden felt like a great first choice, not only because of our strong partnership but because of the growth the Erie County Community Foundation has had over the past 5 years. Thank you Beth for all your hard work to help our community move forward.
Beth Maiden is the Executive Director of the Erie County Community Foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of the people of Erie County by addressing community needs, providing leadership, and cultivating resources for a lasting impact. But Beth did not start her educational journey focused on becoming a director of a community foundation. Her story starts with growing up in Elyria, where her mother taught, and her father was a supervisor at the local Post Office. Early in her life, Beth showed the skill and interest to explore a career in music. Participating in various musical and theater groups throughout high school, Beth planned to continue that passion in college and into a professional career.
Beth arrived at Heidelberg University with the plan to major in Music and Public Relations. Understanding that small schools allow for the opportunity to explore many different things, she joined a sorority, hosted a campus radio show called Meltdown Mondays, and worked on campus planning events and programming with a student led organization. Enjoying the campus and college experience, Beth began her journey in Music and Public Relations with big plans for the future. Then came the end of her freshman year.
At the end of her freshman year, Beth faced a number of heath challenges that would result in her being unable to continue to explore music in the way she had planned. A critical focus and passion for her and what she planned to revolve her future career around was no longer a viable option. This was a moment of great uncertainty. The devasting news of not being able to follow your passion and the time away from school could have resulted in her loosing motivation and perhaps not going back. Beth describes how she was feeling “I was not happy, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back.” It was during this indecision that Beth would make a choice and a pattern would begin to emerge. Beth decided to go back for her sophomore year, continuing to explore a different passion this time in English and Communication. The perseverance, “kept moving forward” attitude, and to constantly push, that was experienced during this time is what has led Beth to continue at Heidelberg and something she is known for today.
After college, Beth briefly entered corporate America but ultimately decided to continue her education at Baldwin-Wallace University. During this time Beth worked as a Hall Director while studying education administration. Here she began her exploration of managing and leading an organization or institution. From there she learned that educational administration was not necessarily her passion, but it was helping people that she was passionate about. She began working at the Red Cross, wearing a lot of different hats as most employees at a non-profit do. From there she went on to work with the Girls Scouts of America, Nordson, and then landing at the Community Foundation of Lorain County where she spent 12 years. During her time at the Community Foundation of Lorain County, she pursued her graduate degree at Case Western University, but the Community Foundation also provided great education on how to lead an organization. After her time at the Community Foundation, Beth went on to lead Leadership Lorain County, an organization focused on developing the next generation of leaders. After a lot of time and effort, Beth was able to move the organization forward in a focused and strategic method.
Beth is now leading the Erie County Community Foundation. She has increased its impact since her arrival, leading many new initiatives to support the community. Two initiatives she is most proud of are the School Meals and the Share a Meal Programs which were designed in the heat of the pandemic to provide lunches for school children across Sandusky and to connect local restaurants with mobile food pantries. Identifying this problem and springing into action, the Erie County Community Foundation, led by Beth, and partners, provided lunch pick up spots across the county. She has big plans for the future and the Erie County Community Foundation. She wants to continue to grow the capabilities of the foundation and work on a higher education program for both universities and skilled trades. I asked Beth what advice she’d give young women early in their career. Beth shared “You really have to know yourself to be successful in your career.”
Beth has and continues to do amazing work for our community. Her story shows that success and finding your passion is not a straight line but one with twists and turns. But as she advised, knowing yourself is what will make you successful in your career and finding what fits best. She explored many different roles, learning more about herself in each one, until finding a few places where she was able to find work she loved doing.