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Community connector reflects on time here

Nonprofit director leaves for new post

POSTED: January 19, 2013 12:04 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Nicole Morgan has begun a new job with Georgia Center for Nonprofits in Atlanta after serving nearly seven years as executive director of the Forsyth County Community Connection. During her time in Forsyth, she helped guide the local nonprofit through a period of tremendous growth.

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A new job opportunity was bittersweet for Nicole Morgan.

After serving nearly seven years as executive director of the Forsyth County Community Connection, she began last week acclimating to her new role with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits in Atlanta.

“It’s really funny because when the opportunity came available with the Georgia Center, it was one of those things that just sort of came out of nowhere in some ways,” said Morgan, who started with the local Community Connection in June 2006.

“One of my friends saw [the job posting] and said, ‘You should look at this.’ I really began to think, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it has been almost seven years and in a lot of ways I think I’ve grown up in my job.’”

Morgan said she made the decision then to move on.

“But that was hard because this really has been my baby,” she said. “I cried a lot.

“But it’s a neat kind of step to the next level for me because it’s a statewide position and after almost seven years I was like it’s time to do something a little different, take what I’ve learned and hopefully use it in great ways.”

Morgan is still on partial contract until Feb. 9 as the director of the local Community Connection, which works to serve local nonprofits and link volunteers to opportunities through its Hands On Forsyth program. She will plan the organization’s annual Heart and Hands Gala fundraiser and help with the transition to a new director.

That person has not yet been selected by the organization’s board, but Morgan, said the new official would likely be named by early February.

In the meantime, Niki Adams, director of the Jackson County Community Connection, will serve as interim director.

“She happens to live in Forsyth County [and] she comes with a tremendous amount of knowledge and can really help the organization through the transition process and the hiring process,” said Morgan, noting that she’s excited for someone new to step into the role.

“I think everyone always wants to do more. It’s hard to ever feel like you can truly put a period at the end of a sentence, because —  particularly in social services — there’s always more to be done,” she said.

“But I do feel proud of what we’ve accomplished and hopefully I’ve laid the groundwork for a fantastic individual, who will have new and different ideas that can do great things, to come in and pick it up and really run with it.”

Morgan said the organization’s focus was different when she arrived in 2006 than it is today.

“Previously it had been very focused on being a data resource for the community,” she said. “But as times have changed, data has become much more readily available. We see online data bases through state organizations … our own state organization, Family Connection, really makes centralized data very available.

“So we really moved toward being a convener in the community … making sure there was not duplication of critical resources so that everyone could be served who really needed to be served and we could hopefully improve communication among all the players at the table and increase collaboration so when there were opportunities for our community, everyone could participate and hopefully have a much stronger outcome for all involved.”

One major highlight for Morgan was expanding Hands on Forsyth.

“When I started we had a registry of 500 folks and we’re now into the thousands of volunteers registering, nearing the 10,000 mark soon,” she said. “I feel very, very proud of that, but what I know is that’s just a fraction of our community that knows about us and knows about the work the nonprofits are doing.”

She’s also proud of helping to bring the community together to serve.

“We hosted the first MLK Day of Service and really got the community thinking about what that means and now organization and churches and groups are really participating in that,” she said.

In her new post, Morgan will work with the Georgia Center’s Nonprofit University program, providing training and other educational opportunities to nonprofit leaders and staff members throughout the state, something that should be a good fit.

“I’m excited because I feel like I have a great network to be able to do that and I’ve sat in the executive director’s seat to know what directors need,” she said.

Morgan thanked the Community Connection board and the county’s nonprofit leaders for their well wishes throughout her transition, as well as during her tenure.

“The people that I work with have been my friends and my family for the last seven years of my life and they have seen me through good times and difficult times and they have helped me … become the Nicole I am today, and I wouldn’t have that opportunity without everyone in this county and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

While she’s moving on to work “back down among the tall buildings,” Morgan said Forsyth County will always be special.

“For so long I’ve been ingrained in Forsyth County and Forsyth County has been ingrained in me, and I think it always will be,” she said. “It’s where my heart will be for a long time.”

 

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