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2020-09-05 07:00:00

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Coworker Corner: Christine Sanborn

Coworker Corner: Christine Sanborn

Many coworkers begin their time at Mercy Home hoping to change a child’s life. But, many times, they too are changed by their experiences here.

“Something has changed in me since I started working at Mercy Home,” Christine Sanborn said.

“Something in me has become very open and I want to be part of helping the kids. I want to go to all the events that we do, I want to volunteer …. I want to be as involved as I can be.”

Christine is now the Director of Finance and handles budgeting, the accounting portion of revenue, investments, and working on the audit team. But before being hired full time, she worked as a consultant to Mercy Home, helping CFO and Vice President of Finance, Human Resources, and Facilities Cheryl Murphy with a project.

“[That] is when I started getting the inkling that Mercy Home was the right place for me,” Christine explained.

Long before she discovered Mercy Home, Christine graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in business administration and eventually also received an MBA from the University of Chicago. Her first job out of college was as a staff accountant at a company that eventually became the chain liquor store Binny’s Beverage Depot. She was promoted to controller and helped open the first Binny’s store.

However, the majority of Christine’s career was spent as a consultant for many different companies across many industries, both for-profit and non-profit.

One especially meaningful period of her work as a consultant was the time she spent in the Philippines installing a call center.

“It was such an amazing experience,” she said. “The people there are incredible. They are warm and respectful and thoughtful and kind.”

Christine was working at the top of a mountain in the Philippines, where she experienced the poverty in which many people lived. She was shocked to discover that one of her coworkers had to walk across an airport runway every day to get to the job. But despite that fact, she was struck by how happy the people are, even living in difficult conditions.

“I came back very humbled after being there because we have so much … and we complain, you know, that our cars aren’t fancy enough …we are so, I don’t want to say excessive exactly, but we’re very materialistic and we never really appreciate what we’ve got,” she said.

“When I came back, I just felt like I had too much stuff and too much privilege and too much everything, that I could live happily with so much less. It was an amazing trip and I think that’s kind of what sparked the desire to want to work in an environment that helps people. It was like the early indicator.”

“I came back very humbled after being there because we have so much … and we complain, you know, that our cars aren’t fancy enough …we are so, I don’t want to say excessive exactly, but we’re very materialistic and we never really appreciate what we’ve got.”

And nearly 15 years after her time in the Philippines, she found herself working as a consultant with Mercy Home and falling in love with the organization. So when a position opened up in our finance department, she knew immediately that she wanted to be part of the team.

“Even just in the couple of months when I started, I could tell this place was different,” she explained. “First of all, Cheryl is an amazing leader…having her for a boss, you just can’t ask for anything better than that. The people I met were so incredibly kind and friendly.

“I just felt like I had found the right place for me. It all just kind of came together at once and made sense.”

After 14 months as a full-time coworker, Christine still loves her job and being part of the Mercy Home family. She has fully immersed herself in all aspects of the home, including volunteering as a tutor once a week for our kids.

“I’ve got a kid that I really want to succeed,” she said. “He’s new, so he’s struggling, but I really want him to succeed so I’m sticking by him.”

“I just felt like I had found the right place for me. It all just kind of came together at once and made sense.”

And when asked to name a favorite thing about working at Mercy Home, Christine struggles to find an answer to choose among so many positives, including her enjoyment of working with the Finance and Advancement teams—“I love learning new things from them, they are so cool,” she explained—it’s something more profound that she lists as the best part.

“I feel like my heart has grown since I’ve been here,” she said. “Being around Fr. Scott [Donahue] and what an amazing man he is … he is just a wonderful person. He’s just full of good. So to try and narrow it down to what my favorite thing is here, it’s kind of hard. [But] I would say my favorite thing is the effect that it’s had on me.”

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