Make-A-Wish CEO Yara Elsayed Guest Says Nonprofit Will Grant 1,000th Wish this Summer
Describe the mission of Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana grants life-changing wishes for local children battling critical illnesses, serving 47 counties in Texas (from Lufkin to Corpus Christi) and the entire state of Louisiana. We are on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey.
How do you view your role in Make-A-Wish? I truly believe I have the greatest job in the entire world! Every day, I see the strength and bravery of the wish kids we serve and the power their wishes have to transform not only their own lives, but those of entire communities. I work with the most hard-working and dedicated staff imaginable. It’s my responsibility to ensure that they have the foundational support to effectively do their jobs and fulfill our mission at a level of excellence. I’m here to work alongside our team and Board of Directors to guide our organization daily and propel our future with limitless possibilities.
What’s unique about your approach? We are building a team based on a sincere belief in having the best and most capable staff executing our mission and serving our wish families. A key component of fulfilling this vision each day is empowerment of my team to embody a service-focused culture of achievement. My motto is, “We always find a way to make a wish happen!” We’re here for the sole purpose of making magic happen for our wish kids — it’s that simple!
What factors motivated you to choose a career in non-profit leadership? Growing up, I was fortunate to have role models who constantly showed me what true community stewardship looks like. Studying Journalism at Mizzou, I felt a strong desire to bring stories to life. Then, I saw the need for people to actively contribute to making their community stronger. It is an ongoing, rewarding and humbling journey to work with a team who shares that mindset and to bring hope to those that need it.
What are the key lessons you’ve learned? By far, the most important lesson is that we must be 100 percent kid-focused with every decision we make. There is no higher priority than our wish kids. We must act with honesty, integrity and compassion. The commitment to serve is one not to be made lightly, and we hold ourselves to standards higher than those set by anyone outside Make-A-Wish.
What’s most exciting about the future of Make-A-Wish? This summer we will grant the 10,000th wish to a local kid since our organization’s inception in 1984. This represents a very special and key milestone as Make-A-Wish is building toward our impact goal to double the number of local wishes granted annually by 2025. Get involved at http://wish.org/texgulf