40 Stories - Constance Dierickx
Vice Chair – PADV Executive Board
Constance Dierickx, PhD has spent her professional career advising boards and senior executives in high-stakes situations. For many years, her philanthropic work focused on helping people, especially women achieve professional success and autonomy. She has advised and mentored dozens of women, pushing them to thrive. While this work is satisfying, it didn’t escape her attention that many of those she helped had distinct advantages.
In her private life, Constance has often participated in social justice issues, including those of family violence. Over time, she felt drawn to spend more time, energy and personal resources to help those who are quite literally, running for their lives. She notes, with the perspective a psychologist, that as we mature, most of us begin to think about what lasting good we can do. Constance says that one thought became prominent for her: “Once I’m gone, what will be different and better because I was here? How can I use my abilities to benefit others, to make things better?”
At the time Constance was seriously asking herself this question, Karla Worley got in touch. A longtime friend and current PADV board member, Karla urged Constance join her at a PADV event at the home of Karen Atkins. Constance immediately felt called to join the mission because “of the sadly overwhelming need for this work.” In January 2016, Constance joined the PADV Board and quickly found her place on the Governance and Hearts with Hope Committee. Speaking about what it means to be part of the PADV board, she says, “I realize that I am doing something that is helpful for people I may never meet. As a board member my job is to support our talented staff and to carry the message about the prevalence and costs of intimate partner violence.”
Constance relishes her role with PADV. “I am proud that our organization is run the way it is. We never rest. We are always asking ‘Are we doing this the best way?’ because the better we do our work, the better support we provide for survivors and the more confident our donors can be that we are effective, responsible and transparent. Our board members proudly reach into our networks to let people know about PADV and their personal involvement. They do this because they fervently support the mission.”
Constance also relayed a message directly to those living with domestic violence, “Call the hotline and get info about what you can do to make plans for a better future. The people working the hotline can help you think through the plans you need to make and the steps you need to take to create a future of peace and prosperity. You may not be ready to leave the day you call. No matter, we are here. We will help you.”