By Cindy McConkey Cox, COO and CMO

Taking early retirement from Scripps Networks Interactive, where I led Corporate Communications for more than a dozen years, was never intended to be an ending. For me, it was a passageway to the next opportunity I would have to make an impact.

For as long as I can remember, that’s what has driven me. Making an impact — whether in sports, as a consultant, a board member, a business leader or a friend. How can I make a difference? Provide support? Be a catalyst for positive change? Affect the outcome?

Like many retired executives, I dabbled in consulting for a year, but found that unfulfilling. So I stopped working. Completely. For the first time since I was 12 years old working the cash register and stocking shelves in my family’s drug store. And I waited.

In that white space, I found Random Acts of Flowers, a national non-profit that improves the emotional health and wellbeing of individuals in healthcare facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement and personal moments of kindness to those dealing with illness, injury or the process of aging.

After negotiating an arrangement that allowed me to work flexible hours splitting time between my home and the office — for about half of what I was making as a consultant, I might add — I took on the role of National Director of Marketing & Communications in March. The seed was planted, and after only a few short months I am genuinely surprised by how much my passion has grown for Random Acts of Flowers, the people it serves, the caregivers who assist us, our devoted volunteers, the generous donors and our talented team members. So now I’m putting down even deeper roots, making the commitment to a bigger leadership role where I will influence RAF’s organizational operations and execution, ensuring the development of people, systems and expertise as the Chief Operating Officer.

Don’t let its simplicity fool you. Random Acts of Flowers is an impact organization. Flowers do heal. Like so many others who have been touched by Random Acts of Flowers, I have been inspired to do my part to help nurture a culture of care and compassion — one bouquet at a time.