Amy Junge Takes the Helm at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
GURNEE ILLINOIS (July 2012) The words “positivity” and “enthusiasm” are frequently used when staff members at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center speak about their new Executive Director, Amy Junge. A native of Waukegan with 22 years of non-profit development experience, Junge joined the ZCenter staff in December 2011 after Lake County philanthropic leader Teresa Bartels, the same woman who recruited recently retired ZCenter CEO Torrie Flink 24 years ago, reached out to her. On Junge’s hiring, Flink said that, “intuition played a giant part for me … Intelligence and experience were evident on Amy's resume; it was more about her ability to create an atmosphere around her of enthusiasm, accountability, and drive. I liked her immediately. I trusted her right away.” That positive feeling resonated with Junge as well: “I toured the facilities, met with Torrie and immediately fell in love with the agency”.
Specifically, she notes that she “appreciates working for an agency that is so client-centered and committed to providing a healing environment and services that are of the highest level of quality.” An additional bonus for Junge is the “organizational culture and staff. It’s a wonderful place to come to work every day.” The feeling appears to be mutual as staff and community members have moved to embrace Junge. Stephanie Garrity, ZCenter’s Director of Development and Stewardship, says she feels “grateful for the opportunity to work with Amy. Her positive outlook, mission focus and development experience will take ZCenter to a new level of service delivery to an ever-growing population of survivors.”
ZCenter’s Grants Manager, Alexandra Beiriger similarly observed that, “Amy is full of enthusiasm and has been open to enhancing [our] impact in the community through program development and outreach.”
Junge’s positivity and experience will come in handy as she faces the challenge of “focus[ing] on an issue that’s so prevalent but something no one wants to talk about or deal with. So investing my time and energy into an issue that affects everyone … is something that I’m energized by. I’m excited about trying to make a difference there.”
Junge has hit the ground running looking for new, innovative ways to connect with community members, including adding two new events to the ZCenter calendar: a tasting event featuring local restaurants and a 5K run during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. Additionally, she’s looking in to partnering with the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Radigan’s Place to provide Horticultural and Equine Assisted Therapy for ZCenter clients.
“I see a lot (of room for growth). There’s always an opportunity for us to partner strategically with organizations and corporations in the community to help create a better understanding of sexual violence in our society, the root causes of it, and what we can do together to create a healthier environment and community. To get this message to the general public because it affects everybody.”
When asked about her favorite moment at ZCenter thus far, Junge smiled warmly and spoke about a client who, the day after a fundraising luncheon, came back and gave every single staff member a flower as an expression of gratitude for the services she received. “It was so incredible that that person recognized that it takes everybody, that we all hold each other, to make a difference … that was really affirming and meaningful.”
Torrie Flink shared the recognition of the importance of supporting one another: “I know the importance of trust and relationships. I believe [Amy] is the one to take our beloved ZCenter to the next substantial place in our growth with integrity and grace ... and that laugh ... it won my heart! I've never doubted our decision and am confident that she is the right person for the job.”
Staff and community members have much to be excited about as this dynamic, intelligent and compassionate Executive Director leads Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center forward.