5 Minutes with Lillian, our Finance and Administrative Director
Why did you choose Camp Aranzazu?
After my youngest son began his college career, I started looking for career opportunities in Rockport to be near my husband. My past roles revolved around nonprofit accounting. I held my last job in Houston for 10 years, and I knew I wanted to stay in the nonprofit space. I was thrilled to find this opportunity with Camp Aranzazu, in Rockport, at the exact same time that I was looking for an accounting role with local nonprofits.
Explain your job in 5 words or less.
Working the business behind the mission! I realize that is six words for this explanation! I truly feel like this best explains my role at Camp Aranzazu. I’m not the face of the mission, but I get to do all the behind-the-scenes work that I love most to help our team fulfill our mission.
What has surprised you about working at Camp Aranzazu?
Well, this position ended up coming with more challenges than I initially thought. When I started in March of 2017, I only had a few months of working at Camp Aranzazu under my belt before Hurricane Harvey hit in August. Working through all of the financial implications of that disaster took more than a year. And then, COVID-19 threw another wrench in our plans that I’ve been trying to manage for the last two years. So, the outside situations and pressures have really brought along challenges that I never thought I’d need to deal with!
What’s the best part about working at Camp Aranzazu?
It’s super impressive and inspiring to be on-site when campers are camping with us. It’s invigorating to see all the hard work of our team come to fruition during the summer months. Even though I’m in the office, I get to hear the joy happening all around me while I work.
I also love being in a natural setting. I can literally step right outside the door of the Welcome Center and see deer eating the grass or flocks of birds flying overhead. During our quieter seasons, I love being able to be steps away from such natural beauty.
Tell me about your favorite memory at Camp Aranzazu.
As a department of one person, there are long stretches of time where my projects keep me pretty solitary. So, I really enjoy times when our staff comes together like we did during the staff retreat. There’s so much to do at Camp Aranzazu; everyone is working hard within their department and when all of the departments come together — those are my favorite moments.
I also enjoy being a sounding board for our staff. Whether they need a bit of advice or have asked for help with something like navigating a 401K sign-up, I appreciate that my coworkers can come to me for honest feedback that isn’t related to any supervisory role at camp.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your experience working at Camp Aranzazu?
People tend to underestimate what is involved in accounting. Accountants end up learning and being part of all facets of the business/organization. At Camp Aranzazu, I get to work with all the other departments and really have a hand in understanding how they drive our finances. I take great pride in ensuring all our numbers are accurate and that our mission is being conveyed through the financial numbers I share with our team, board members, supporters, and the public.