Helen Poole is a Principal Consultant at Gobel Group. We recently conducted an interview with her regarding her background and experience.
- What did you do before joining Gobel Group?
I’ve been a nurse for almost forty-two years; for twenty-seven of them, my clinical focus was on hospice and home care. Most recently, I was the executive director of Grateful Patient Programs at Duke Medicine. That was really when I started my career in fundraising.
- Why did you decide to join Gobel Group?
I’ve actually known Chad Gobel for a number of years. He was working in the grateful patient sphere, and so was I, so we’d run into each other constantly at conferences and speaking events and such. As I prepared to leave Duke Medicine, Chad and I had a conversation about my desire to continue to assist others in some way. Chad said, “Come work with me.” It was really that easy!
- How would you describe your consulting expertise?
My approach to consulting is definitely colored by my background in nursing. In fact, one of the most exciting things about working with Chad was that he let me develop a program specifically geared towards nurses, in order to help them feel more comfortable with philanthropy. Since I’m a nurse through-and-through, I was thrilled. I felt that other consultants really didn’t talk about nursing, even though nurses spend the most time with patients. So, we developed the program, and we submitted it to see if we could get it accredited for contact hours. The process of getting a session or educational training approved for accreditation is quite involved – it’s an extremely long process, and you really have to be able to provide information that shows the program can make a difference in the practice of nursing. Well, we did it – and we’ve had it reapproved twice!
- What excites you about working with Gobel Group’s clients?
Each and every one of Gobel’s clients are amazing – just amazing. It’s so incredible to work with the people at each foundation, especially the nursing leadership.
Since I’ve been a nurse a good portion of my professional life, I find that aspect – working with nurses – to be the most exciting. I just love sitting down with them and hearing about what they’re doing, the types of patients they’re taking care of. And, of course, I enjoy being able to help them to meet the challenges they face in any way I can.
- What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Going along with what I was saying, I really am honored to be able to assist my clients. I like helping them understand patient gratitude, and the ways that patients indicate that they want to give back. Normally, when we’re running trainings with nurses, there’s always this “A-ha!” moment in their eyes, as they realize that it’s actually okay to have someone say to them, “Wow, you’re amazing.” This is such a positive thing, both for the nurses and for the patients. That’s my excitement now – working with the nurses and the chief nursing officers.
- What are a few personal details you could share?
I always start my presentations with something like, “I’m a native North Carolinian, and I have a lovely southern accent.” I’ve got two degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’ve been married for 25 years, and I have seven grandchildren. I love waterskiing.
I’m also very involved in my community. I’m from Wake County, and the county commissioner actually nominated me to be on the commission for women in Wake County. I also sit on the campaign steering committee at UNC School of Nursing at Chapel Hill.