We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Koegl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, what are you inspired by?
I am inspired by individuals who see the need for action and follow through with it. Many times we are aware that something should be done but wait for someone else to step up and make it happen. The co-founders of Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank, Inc. are a prime example. Kim Pearson and Terry Woodfin recognized the lack of services provided to pet owners and went into action. That one step in the right direction led to the organization being able to provide over 600,000 pet meals annually.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It took over a decade of volunteerism to get to where I am today. I was 19 when I became involved with DF2FM. Over those years I had a lot of self doubt. We tend to think we are too small to make a big difference and that without experience we cannot make a meaningful impact. The co-founder of the organization saw right past that and encouraged me to take on tasks I would have never imagined I could manage. There were learning curves and struggles of course, but that is the only way you can glean the knowledge needed to press forward. I learned to take it one step at a time and always ask for guidance when needed. I had several meetings with Terry, who basically became my mentor, where I expressed my concerns about being the right choice or taking the right path. She always helped me remember – if not me, who? There was work to be done, and I COULD do it! Eventually, when the Operations Manager position become open, I came on staff in 2020. It really felt like everything had led to this. Almost like I had finally come home! What I want people to realize is that happiness and fulfillment, rather it be career or otherwise, is not something that just happens – you have to work for it. In the end, it is worth all that time and effort – I promise!
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?
I am not a fan of the heat so I would most likely take them to NRH2O so we could cool down while enjoying time together. There are a lot of interesting and tasty small breweries around the mid-cities area we would certainly have to try. Dinners would come from Tony’s in Watauga (best eggplant rollatini) and Habanero’s in N. Fort Worth (amazing staff and great patio for drinks!). On Sunday we would check out Watauga Farmers Market and pick up some tasty treats. I went to UNT so I would have to expose them to Denton’s quaint atmosphere and unique shopping. I would want to ensure they tried all the small businesses in the area since that is something you can only get here and supports our community!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As previously mentioned, the co-founders of Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank, Inc. (DF2FM) are truly an inspiration to me. I got involved with DF2FM in large part due to Terry taking me under her wing. She really changed the course of my life and showed me I could make a difference in the world right where I was. Since then the leadership of the organization has always been encouraging and supportive. I volunteered for over a decade before coming on staff in 2020. Applying for that open position was one of the best choices I made, as that same supportive and encouraging feeling I had become familiar with in my volunteerism is now ever present in my day to day work.