Q&A with New Broward House Interim CEO Stacy Hyde
When Stacy Hyde was a kid, she wanted to be a photojournalist. Then she wanted to work in prisons. And then be a teacher.
Instead she's been the head of almost every department at Broward House, an AIDS/HIV service organization. And even though she says it wasn't part of her plan, she is now the interim CEO there. Hyde knows the programs and departments inside and out. Her goal has been to guide people to help themselves through the diagnosis and she doesn't let her ego get in the way.
What were you like as a kid?
We had a lot of good friends growing up [in Oakland Park]. I did Oakland Park Recreation and played softball and soccer. My father was really athletic; it's just something we did. We just grew up being very active. I wasn't the star sports player I just played. We were never under pressure to win, just to do our best. It was about leaving it all on the field no matter what we did.
Do you think that mindset sticks with you today?
Yeah definitely, with both of my parents, we were taught to not step on anybody's toes. So no matter what I do I'm going to give it my all. I think it's made me define success differently. To me it's about doing something good. If what I do has good intentions, it's not winning it's making a difference.
What was your dream job?
I changed my mind a few times. I wanted to be a traveling photojournalist, but even then it was always about capturing people in photos. Then I was always interested in political science and criminal justice. I wanted to work in prisons, to work and help people. I just knew I wanted to help people.
What made you want to work with patients diagnosed with AIDS/HIV?
The idea that someone could be sick from a disease, I just couldn't understand it. I thought, 'I need to make difference.' You can't just be concerned and not do something about it. The fact that people didn't get the care they needed because of stigma and their background or how they got the disease, it was always hard for me to understand.
What's it like working people diagnosed with HIV?
It's not any different working with anyone else. Anyone that needs healing can get help here and all of them just need to be heard and respected. We work with individuals who are HIV positive, but also the homeless and incarcerated. I'm motivated by their strengths. It's sad sometimes that we can't get everyone what they need and it saddens me that there's still the stigma out there.
What's the biggest challenge in working with AIDS/HIV patients?
They don't see the value they have. They don't see themselves worthy. You want to be able to help them see that. They come in at their lowest low, and to help them and support them, that's a challenge.
What has been your toughest experience working with a patient?
There's a lot of hard ones but also a lot of good ones. There was this one time when someone needed services and had a very fragile history. She never came back and I tried to contact her and couldn't find her. I had the fortune of seeing her several years later. She said she had a moment it clicked for her. It's the people that get lost through the system and those are the hardest moments.
That sounds very emotionally draining. How do you keep it together?
I've learned to take care of myself so I can be strong for work. I've also learned that even the smallest thing you say can make a difference. I don't need to see the outcome. I just need to plant the seeds and hope that people find the right path.
What do you think makes you a good CEO?
My number one answer doesn't sound very CEOish. I care about Broward House and there's no one that has the passion that I do. I know it from the inside out.
Even the waitressing has helped me in this job. I think they all require the same skills. I think that my work ethic in all of those jobs has been the same. I'm going to give it everything that I have. I'm going to support everyone around me. I think having all these experiences helped me make clear decisions. I also know when to ask for help. It helps not having a huge ego.