PJ Watters, Director of Gift Planning
What project or initiative are you working on for Innovia that you are most passionate about?
I’m passionate about people more than projects. I look forward to meeting people, to exploring their charitable passions and to getting to know them as we work together. Working at Innovia gives me the opportunity to do that every day. On my first professional job, my supervisor counseled me for “caring more about people than productivity.” I left the meeting feeling like I should change that and shared that critique with a Catholic nun friend. Her reaction, “Oh, honey, congratulations! That is wonderful.” That was 38 years ago! Now, I can knock out a project productively, but if there are interesting people involved –which there always are –that will be my focus. Who did I meet or get to know?
Describe the project/initiative and what you see as the importance of it?
People need someone to trust with their life story, someone who will tell their story, honor their life and fulfill their charitable legacy. That is what we do. For many donors, we are the kids they never had. We are the family who will remember and honor them. That is not a project or initiative. That is life.
What fuels your passion?
Meeting people who are making the world a better place. Do-gooders. Doing many small good things every day to brighten lives. These people hardly ever make the news — the news is filled with the ones who made something worse. My do-gooders hardly get noticed and deserve so much more. Knowing them and remembering how they lived can inspire us all.
How do you/will you know that you’re making a difference? What does that mean to you?
It is easy to count the numbers of new funds and the dollars in the door, but that doesn’t make the difference. The difference comes when a tragedy is averted or someone’s potential is cultivated and harvested. You cannot measure the tragedies that didn’t happen, but you can celebrate the lives well lived. It also helps when someone says, “You made a difference in my life.”