We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Barbara, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
Being a hands-on, connected parent is the key to the success of my three children, and the key to the close, loving relationship I now enjoy with them in their adulthood. One of the best books I read when my children were young was Connection Parenting by Pam Leo. In this book I learned that playing physically and on their level, giving them undistracted time and attention, leading by example and earning their trust not their fear, are the keys to healthy children and a rewarding parent-child relationship. The physical play is important. For example, when you take your kids to the park, don’t sit on the bench looking at your cell phone. Rather play hide and seek with them, go down the slide, roll in the grass and hug them. This will create a bond and a deep connection. Give your kids undistracted time when they feel and know that they are the most important thing on your mind. Too many parents are distracted and their children can feel that they are not the priority. Smart phones are a big problem here. This is not the way to build connection or to build healthy self-esteem in children. As far as leading by trust, not being too authoritative and strict, rather being assertive and participating in tasks is preferable. For example, instead of saying, “Clean up your toys,” you might say, “Let’s clean up your toys together.” Parenting was and is one of the greatest privileges and joys of my life. The work of influencing and shaping little children into the kind of adults our world needs is truly the most important job one could have, and it is no easy task. But all the work invested is returned a hundred-fold in the end result.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am lucky enough to be running one of the coolest nonprofit organizations in North Texas, Hope Supply Co. Hope Supply Co. has been meeting the critical needs of homeless and at-risk children for over 30 years! I have been heading up the organization for 6 years, and have grown through the process. Taking over an organization with a large warehouse and inventory with absolutely no prior experience with inventory was a scary endeavor! I am proud of my ability to learn on a steep curve, achieve great program efficiency, avoid mission creep and lead Hope Supply Co to becoming a highly effective and lean nonprofit which serves over 65,000 children every year. During my tenure we have been recognized and supported by the two largest funders in Dallas: Crystal Charity Ball and Attorneys Serving the Community. It is an honor to be selected by these groups, and an indication of the confidence in our organization. It was a long road to CEO of Hope Supply Co. I stayed at home with my three children for a decade, doing CPA work on the side. Once my children were old enough to be out of the house most of the day I worked my way up in the nonprofit world by starting out as a volunteer, obtaining part time work, becoming a manager, an executive director, and then being recruited to lead Hope Supply Co. I am proud that the work I did at the early nonprofits I was involved with helped me gain respect and confidence to lead me to my current CEO position.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Recently a wonderful friend from my college days visited me in Dallas from her home in Virginia. It was fun showing her my stomping grounds near White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum and the White Rock Boat Club where I have my kayak and frequent for cocktails and sunsets on the deck. We also made the trek to the Bishop Arts District where we enjoyed walking down Bishop and eating street tacos, drinking coffee and popping into stores. Out of town guests consider Dallas a shopping hub, so we took the obligatory walk at NorthPark mall. We also drove around in Highland Park to see some of the more impressive homes. Everything is bigger in Texas, was the impression my friend took away from the home tour!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have already mentioned how valuable the guidance of Pam Leo in her book Connection Parenting was during my hands on parenting years. I also give great credit to everything I have accomplished in my life to my parents, Roy and Traudel Baughman. They made me feel loved and important and provided excellent opportunities for travel and education. Lastly, I would like to give a shoutout to Hope Supply Co., the nonprofit I have the privilege of leading. Hope Supply Co. does vital work for local, homeless and at-risk children, and it gives me daily purpose and meaning in my career.

Website: www.hopesupplyco.org
Instagram: hopesupplyco.dfw
Linkedin: hope supply co.
Twitter: HopeSupplyCoNTX
Facebook: hope supply co.