Staff Spotlight: Get to know Danielle Demko, new Executive Director at OHI Austin!

Danielle Demko is making the leap to Austin, TX.  “I have been on the OHI San Diego campus since January 2019,” said Danielle.  “I absolutely love it there, but when the chance to transition to the OHI Austin campus presented itself, I just had to say YES to the opportunity.  The team at the Austin campus has done a great job.  I can’t wait to jump in.”

Danielle had a long and prosperous career prior to OHI.  She spent 14 years at a non-denominational mega-church in San Diego where she started in accounting, then moved over to spiritual counseling, leadership training, and teaching.  Her last five years at the church were in HR as the Director of Training & Development.  “I have a master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology which is focused on the psychology of developing people and building teams,” said Danielle.  “Whether I am teaching, training, mentoring, or leading, my heart is full when I can offer another perspective and encourage growth physically or emotionally through life’s opportunities.”

When Danielle joined OHI, her talents and skills made a big impression, and she naturally took on numerous responsibilities. “When I first joined OHI, I was a Senior Facilitator, teaching and counseling guests,” said Danielle.  “Four months later, I took the reins of the OHI Missionary Program.  I am certified to teach 27 of the 40 different classes in the OHI curriculum.  I am passionate about the contemplative classes, Emotional & Mental Detox, Alpha I & II, Conscious Breathing, Stretch, etc.  Everyone is on their own journey in life.  These classes get to the heart of the healing journey, peeling back the layers and opening up how guests see themselves, life, health, even food.  It is such an honor to be a part of this.

As part of her interview process in 2018, Danielle went through the program at OHI Austin, where she fell in love with the campus and staff.  “I always wondered if one day I’d end up there,” said Danielle.  “OHI Austin holds a special place in my heart.”  In 2021, Danielle was brought in to cover classes for Cheryl Green, OHI Austin’s current Executive Director, while she was out of town.  “Cheryl is just amazing,” said Danielle.  “It’s easy to see why the OHI Austin guests, missionaries, and staff love her so much.”

Cheryl decided to take a sabbatical from her OHI position, and Danielle has stepped up to fill her shoes.  “Cheryl won’t be gone for long,” said Danielle.  “She’ll return to OHI Austin and continue her connection with the guests in spiritual direction and teaching classes part-time.”

While Danielle is connected to her “OHI family” in San Diego, Austin is quickly becoming family as well.  As she gets to know the culture at OHI Austin, she is enjoying bonding with the staff and greeting each new guest on Sundays.  “My goal is to simply enhance what is already working so well at OHI Austin,” said Danielle.  “I feel like I’ve been called to help others through OHI, and it is my honor to be able to contribute to the OHI Austin campus.  I have every intention of embracing the current culture and traditions, while looking ahead to see what the future holds for us here.  We intend to expand the staff so I’m able to get out in the community and raise awareness of all that we have to offer at OHI.”

As OHI Austin’s Executive Director, Danielle will be responsible for overseeing the OHI Austin community of guests, missionaries, and staff, the program classes, and the property.  “I am also in a 2-year ordination program,” said Danielle.  I will graduate as an ordained minister in 2023.  As both a teacher as well as a minister, I hold a safe and sacred space for guests.  I look forward to teaching them, being an advocate for them, and counseling them with an open heart.  Every guest that walks through the OHI doors comes in with an opportunity for growth.  I try to meet each guest in the space where I am most needed, and support them as they learn the deeper meaning behind how they got to where they are in life.  It’s an honor to help them figure out that they can take charge of their own outcomes.  The transformation that guests undergo when they change their mindset is nothing short of miraculous.”

Danielle recently bought a house in the neighboring town of Bastrop and is already in love with her new community.  “What a gorgeous place to live,” said Danielle.  “The people are super friendly, the historic homes are breathtaking, and the downtown has so many things to do.  I couldn’t be more proud to join this community, and I look forward to spending many happy years here.  Thanks for extending me such a warm welcome, OHI Austin!  I feel like one of the family already!”

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