5/25/16 Leadership News
Recovering from Religion would like to issue the following announcement:
Teresa MacBain officially tendered her resignation as Director of the Hotline Project and as a member of the Board of Directors effective Monday, April 25, 2016.
Recovering from Religion is deeply grateful to Teresa for all of her time and hard work on the Hotline Project. We wish her the greatest success in her academic pursuit, and look forward to hearing about the next achievement in her journey. We have included a letter from Teresa detailing her accomplishments while serving with Recovering From Religion.
The Hotline Project is now under the capable leadership of Sarah Jane Wood, Director, and Jerry Ozbun, Technical Director. This vital program, consisting of both the Hotline and the new Chatline, will continue to offer a safe place and compassionate response to those seeking answers to the often troubling questions that accompany doubting one’s faith.
Here is an excerpt of Teresa’s resignation:
I never thought I would ever leave such a great organization, but when the opportunity arose to pursue my graduate degree through an accelerated program, which as you know has always been a lifelong dream for me, I simply had to take advantage of it.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Recovering from Religion and the Hotline Project. There are so many wonderful people I’ve encountered in my years of service with the organization that have shown me the power of compassion and commitment. I am especially grateful for the you all for your trust in me and support of this vital work. The staff and volunteers in the Hotline Project have impressed me with their innovation, dedication, and passion for those in need of a listening ear. Without my amazing team, we would not be where we are today!
Finally, I am honored to have been a part of the RfR board. Your leadership has taken us to new levels, and I am truly a better person because of all your personal and professional advice over the years. It’s my sincere hope that we will stay in touch as I begin this new chapter in my life.
The following is a narrative of Teresa’s accomplishments while a board member and Hotline Director:
The Hotline Project began as a dream to provide people a safe, easily accessible way to connect with a real person during some of the most difficult times in their lives. Over the past year, this dream has become reality through the Hotline Project. In August 2014, I came on board simply to write and develop the call agent training manual and program. That led to which led to setting up the call center system (iCarol), then working as the Training Director, then working as the Assistant Director, and finally as the Director. Being one of the founders of this project has been, and is, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Being a part of this ground-breaking work has truly changed my life. Seeing the commitment, passion, and compassion of the team coupled with the gratitude of our callers, continually encourages and strengthens me. We have come a very long way in a short amount of time and we have much more to do in the future. I take great pride in knowing that the work we do gives people the greatest gifts of all: love, understanding, time, and hope.
After months of development, I trained the first Hotline Call Agent on November 3, 2014. Since that time, my team and I have trained 235 call agents and 23 chat agents. The hotline has grown into a professional, international peer-support call center. Each day, a hotline agent provides a safe, non-judgmental space for people struggling with issues of faith. People from across the globe now have access to practical, tangible resources, referrals, and information. Our clients range from 12 years-old to 82 years-old representing the spectrum of belief from doubting believer to closeted nonbeliever, open nonbeliever, and concerned family member or friend.
The Hotline officially launched February 28, 2015 with a team of 35 call agents and 2 shift supervisors managing 103 calls in the first 12 hours. Several callers contacted the hotline out of curiosity or wanting to know why we established a hotline to ‘deconvert’ Christians. A few called trying to trap the call agents by pretending to be a nonbeliever. In each instance, the call agents displayed true professionalism as they communicated the mission of the hotline. Since the launch, I have built a solid infrastructure staffed by a team of highly talented professionals with the skills and commitment to expand our reach, recruit and train volunteers, and bring innovative ideas to the hotline.
Teresa's Specific Accomplishments:
* Wrote all training curriculum and policy manuals
* Developed team leadership based infrastructure for virtual teams
* Specific emphasis on an organic approach vs. a top-down model
* Trained senior staff using traditional and apprentice based model
* Developed internal tracking tools, tech support ticketing system, and staff training
* Built Hotline Website
* Created new logo and graphics
* Transitioned the hotline from a land-based server system to a cloud based system, reducing the operational costs drastically
* Developed and launched the chat line
* Developed an expansive volunteer support system including: mental health resources for self-care, mini-course training sessions, transitioned to the Slack communications platform, and a full-featured Hotline Volunteer Support Website for the team.
* Assisted in the restructure of RfR following the ED’s departure.
* Worked to ensure that the Hotline had a solid team to move forward after my departure.