Q & A with Chief Financial Officer Marsha Hahn, AM, LCSW Marsha-Hahn0377

Ms. Hahn has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit and small business management. Her responsibilities include oversight of agency finances, facilities, support staff, and human resources. She is also an active clinician and clinical supervisor whose areas of interest include the impact of culture and society of mental health, all schools of psychotherapy, mindfulness and body-centered therapies, spirituality and issues of social injustice.
What is your role at Turning Point?

I’m our Chief Financial Officer, but I’m also a licensed clinician and have a very small caseload.

What tools, techniques, or areas of expertise do you focus on at Turning Point?

I know it’s pretty unusual for a clinician to work as a CFO.  I’m not an accountant, but I had quite a bit of financial management experience before getting my social work degree in mid-life, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to do both kinds of work at Turning Point.  I work with our bookkeeper, billing team, HR Coordinator, and Office and Facilities Manager, all of whom do an amazing job every day.  I have to make sure that our books are in order, our grants are accounted for, and that things pass muster in our annual financial audit.  Perhaps most important, I have to make sure that we remain financially viable, something which is not easy in Illinois’ current financial and political climate.  To achieve this, I rely heavily on our senior Admin Team and our Management Team to help us make and carry out sound decisions.

What made you decide to go into the field of mental health?  

First, I wanted to help people in a potentially deep and lasting way at the individual level. I had long been interested in how people heal, change, and find their way to more satisfying lives, and I wanted to be part of that process for others.  Second, I have learned how important it is to take care of my own mental health every day, which has at times included therapy.  So I know firsthand how valuable and life-changing this work can be.  As CFO, I work to protect the well-being of our agency, which I know is essential for us to continue to be here for the many, many individuals and families who come to us for help.

How do you stay healthy and relieve stress?  

I’m an avid knitter.  I love the creative process and the rhythm of the knitting needles.  And, I love the beautiful yarn and the fact that there’s something tangible when I’m finished.  I also enjoy walking outdoors and observing nature.  I love the four seasons we get in Chicago and the fact that the natural environment is always changing.

What does “Compassionate” mean to you? 

The idea of compassion is something I’ve been really aware of during the past two or three years.  Living in this world can be very hard.  Relationships, financial pressures, demands from others, our expectations for how life should be – all of these things can press in on us and create hard edges.  I’m aware of it because I experience it myself, and I also see it happening to others.  Compassion heals a lot of that, I think.  I’ve discovered that when I actively cultivate compassion toward myself, I almost magically soften and have compassion for those around me.  Economic realities are squeezing institutions, organizations and families – this is something I’m acutely aware of as CFO at Turning Point.  Maintaining compassion in the midst of these challenges is so important to our well-being as a society.

What is the most recent book you enjoyed?  

I just finished reading An Abundance of Katherines. I read it because I recently heard the author, John Green, speak at a fundraising event, and was impressed and moved by his outlook on the world.  It’s from the “young adult literature” genre, which I typically don’t read.  But I have a few young adults who are special to me, and I’ve always had an affinity for that whole adolescent time of life.  It’s a wonderful book, and I’ve now picked up my second John Green novel!

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