SHERIDAN — When a friend first suggested Christine Dieterich apply for a leadership position with Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns, she had not thought beyond her day-to-day to even consider a leadership position of that caliber.
As a Habitat homeowner herself, Dieterich had seen the positive impact the organization had on community members in need of an affordable home. Despite her feelings of inadequacy, she applied and earned the title of executive director of the nonprofit organization.
Since then, she’s confidently stepped into new projects, moving the organization forward with fresh ideas and creative ways to find the dollars needed to provide homes for community members. While she’s confident in her abilities, she often runs into what is known as imposter syndrome.
“You’re in a leadership position and everyone’s eyes are on you and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, there has to be someone better at this than me or more qualified that can speak better, who can present better, who can write grants better,’” Dieterich said. “It’s been a lot of trial and error, but thinking back on it now, I really do need to give myself more credit.”
In addition to positive self-talk and allowing herself to recognize her own achievements, the support of solid women in Dieterich’s life also helped propel her to where she is today.
“I had a supervisor of mine in a child care center that I was working at who, when she resigned, offered me the assistant executive director for the organization,” Dieterich said. “I never had any desire to be in a leadership position before then, and I was certainly not confident at all in my abilities to be in a leadership position, kind of that, ‘Why me? Why do you think I’m capable of doing this?’ feeling.
“But she must have seen something in me that I just couldn’t see for myself, and that was my first real chance at being in a position where I was a leader of a team and leading a nonprofit organization especially.”
Dieterich is often seen helping out at a construction site, still contributing physical as well as mental strength to the future homes of Habitat homeowners.
She keeps the momentum going for her work life by demanding a work-life balance of herself.
“I do have a husband and four children, so that of course consumes a lot of my time,” Dieterich said. “But I’m also really mindful of making time for myself. I think I finally reached that point where I feel OK to be selfish a little bit.”
Her alone time consists of running and, if she doesn’t have a lunchtime meeting, completing a CrossFit workout in the middle of her day. The physical break allows for a mental one, as well, and provides an outlet that makes her more successful at the office.
Dieterich overcame feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome to become the bold community leader she is today.