Stacia N. Frederick is the newly promoted Director of Volunteers and Community Engagement at Calvary Women’s Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness for women in DC. She is also an author and small-business owner of My Roll Dog Designs.
“As a kid, I wanted to do good and save the world,” Stacia says.
After experiencing homelessness as an undergraduate, Stacia knew she wanted to help others access the basic human right of housing.
“There is something in me that kept me on a path to serve those who are in need of housing resources,” she shares.
She started her nonprofit career working in a middle school with AmeriCorps in New York City. From there she took a position as an advocate counselor in a Brooklyn transfer high school.
“Working in schools is not an easy task,” she says. “You want the best for the youth but you know that they’re young and can’t make the final decision on their lives. You can create the best educational environment for a student, but their home life can become one of the major obstacles to their success.”
Stacia has always been driven and works hard to accomplish her goals. While working full time she was also earning her master’s degree in International Affairs. She left her job to complete a degree-required practicum in Liberia.
“When I came back, I wanted to transition from working with youth to working with the unhoused population. And I’ve been doing that ever since,” she explains.
Accomplishing Professional and Personal Goals
Knowing she wanted to serve the unhoused population, Stacia has worked at different agencies as a Housing Coordinator. From there, she transitioned to a job with BRAC USA, where she gained experience with grant writing and development work.
“I tell everybody in the nonprofit sector, if you get the opportunity to do development work, do so because you get an in-depth understanding of how important it is. It provides context to the organization’s decision-making and really helps you in your direct service roles,” she shares.
In addition to her career goals, Stacia had a personal goal to own property by age 35. She decided to move to DC in 2019 to make this dream a reality.
“I met my goal,” she shares. “When I say I want to accomplish something, I accomplish it.”
While looking for houses in DC she was also applying for jobs that would allow her to continue working with the unhoused population. She took the Senior Community Engagement Manager position with Calvary Women’s Services shortly before the pandemic. She quickly added additional operational responsibilities as a number of staff members left the organization when the pandemic began.
“I wanted to step up and make sure the organization was running well, especially during a time when everyone was fearful,” she explains.
Working late nights and taking on extra responsibilities as an Operations Manager was challenging but Stacia was able to keep the residents in her transitional housing building safe and secure.
“The residents call me Wonder Woman, Road Runner, Tasmanian Devil. I’m just constantly running around,” she laughs. “We’re 24/7 and we can’t stop.”
Creating Her Legacy
Working in the nonprofit space can be challenging, but Stacia focuses on the bigger picture of the legacy she wants to leave behind.
“The worst thing you can become in the nonprofit sector is jaded,” she says. “Being in the nonprofit sector we’re not here to make a lot of money. We’re here to create a better world and help people empower themselves.”
Stacia encourages other nonprofit professionals to find ways to decompress outside of work.
“You have to have passion projects and have things that bring you joy,” she explains.
For her, this includes working on her Etsy shop to achieve her goal of becoming a social entrepreneur and writing two books – Pouring from an Empty Cup: A Self-Reflection Journal for Nonprofit Professionals and Out of Office: Daily Home To Do List.
“If you can be creative and find ways to make it entrepreneurial, that works as well. Even if it is not a money making venture, just be sure to find ways to decompress,” she advises.
Whether it’s pursuing her passion for helping women experiencing homelessness, self-publishing her own books, or launching an e-commerce Etsy shop, Stacia works hard at everything she does because she knows she is the master of her own destiny.
“No one can stop you from achieving your goals, except for you.”