Creating Space to Re-energize the Self and Business

The break from nonprofit consulting enabled me to relax and re-energize, and even start a new small venture. I was not even sure whether I would return to consulting, and that was OK. However, as my mind and spirit opened up, so did my vision for consulting work, choosing to integrate two equally important aspects of my life: nonprofit consulting and the arts. Now, I dedicate time to my artistic projects, and I recently decided to consult for arts organizations, in addition to those engaged in social justice, which had been the dominant thread of my work.

As Buddhism postulates: Nothing is permanent. Everything changes.

One more important lesson for me is that I figured out how to integrate two important parts of my life into a continuum. That’s an important change in perspective.

Now, I make art appointments with myself and put them on my calendar, treating them as I treat business meetings. I say no to board service invitations – with one exception, the local hospital and other offers. Simultaneously, I network with colleagues in the art field, both to learn about exhibits and shows and, yes, to market my consulting business. In essence, I learned to conceptualize and create a new vision and plan for my life. I also learned that in life as in science, nothing is lost; everything is transformed.

Burnout uncovered a hidden gift: the opportunity to acknowledge my limits, pause, reflect and gain motivation to start again, refreshed. Interestingly, one important thing happened as I resolved to return to consulting in the last couple of months: Writing for Latin Business Today represents an opportunity to share recent experiences that transformed my life and write about issues that are relevant to us, Latino entrepreneurs, as well as to learn from others. In my next column, I plan to write about how the U.S. economy can greatly benefit from eliminating the educational gap that currently affects Latino students.


Mara Perez has been delivering fundraising, evaluation and strategic-planning services to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions for more than 10 years. Visit her firm at