Boulder Recap: Changemaker Chat with Isabel McDevitt

Isabel McDevitt is the Executive Director of Boulder Bridge House. We sat down with her to learn what she does everyday and how she helps others who are experiencing homelessness.

Believe In The Power Of The Individual
I feel fortunate to have been raised in a family that celebrated confidence. My father was a champion of girls and I have lot of confidence as a result. That has allowed me to work with people of all backgrounds. I was nurtured and told from an early age that I can do anything I am comfortable doing. As I get older, I realize how lucky I was to have that sense of self, which is sadly unique. I try to bring that to the people I help everyday by really believing that people are people and they can do anything they put their minds too. I believe in the power of the individual. I believe we can solve the problem by treating every person like a capable human being.

I’m Doing Exactly What I’m Supposed to Be Doing
I don’t think I could do another job.  I feel fortunate that I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I wouldn’t do anything differently. Yes I’ve made tons of mistakes, and there’s work life balance which is hard because I’m obsessed with my job. There have been times where I thought, maybe I should have gone to business school, but I wouldn’t change the path I’ve taken because I know this is where I should be.

On ‘Speaking Up’
Someone recently said out loud at a board meeting, “Positivity is not a strategy. You have to make things happen.” I’m not that good at asking for things or asking for help, I’m good at making things happen because I’m so passionate about the work I do every day.

It’s Magical When You Let Someone Know They Are Worth Something
A mentor of mine is someone who had previously experienced homelessness and drug addiction. He lived in the Subway in New York for 5 years, before he got sober and became an addiction counselor.  I just watched him, he was graceful compassionate and so tough. I would sit in his office learning from him, watching him in action, and how he nurtured others. He taught me how to believe in people and have high expectations. He said,  “you have to love someone enough to have expectations for them”  It’s magical when you let people know they’re worth something.. The rest follows.