What Matters to Maura Noel
Maura is somewhat of a sandbagger when it comes to the awesomeness of what she does in our community. When you chat with her one on one you see that she’s intelligent and witty with at least one hard edge, while having a calculated sense of adventure. But to really get to what matters to Maura she requires you to dig much deeper. When exposed to what Maura is up to in our community, you become convinced she’s wearing a Batman costume under her clothes, waiting to leap off to help out in a moments notice.
A new england transplant and self professed “catholic school survivor”, Maura is an avid cyclist and volunteer for Team in Training and our State Parks. She worked for 18 years in high tech, which she left in 2009 for nonprofit work and is currently working on Amgen Tour of CA—Santa Cruz style. Because what really matters to Maura is:
Terri: Maura, in order to keep the finish line of a stage of the Amgen Tour of California in Santa Cruz County you recently took a giant step into the unknown and personally underwrote the expense of this endeavor. What matters the most to you in your life right now that caused this risky choice? If you could sum up what matters to you in one word, what would that word be
Maura: It was/is my perception that the community wanted this event more than whether or not the city could fund it. Numerous people I’ve met at farmer’s markets and chamber meetings have told me I was/am right. What matters most in one word? Service.
Terri: You mentioned what you perceived mattered to our community surrounding the Amgen event. What matters to you personally that would cause you to devote an enormous amount of time and an unprecedented amount of money to this cause?
Maura: My personal motivation for bringing the Tour of CA back to Santa Cruz county is based on my perception that kids these days need more examples of active ‘play’ – something where you put down your techno toy of choice and actually interact with your environment and your peers. I am concerned with the spread of technology as distraction for kids – even though I enjoy the benefits of my blackberry. But I didn’t grow up sitting around for hours surfing the web or texting my friends. We played games outside after school. We rode our bikes to friends’ houses. We climbed trees, went sledding or skating, etc. I was not an ‘athletic’ kid growing up at all but we were at least pushed out side and told to get some fresh air on a regular basis.
While working on the tour of CA and the tour of CO, I see kids running down the street or pedaling on bikes, eager to get a glimpse of the riders. This is a team sport where people work together, so one of their team can win. Many of these kids may never have heard of the Tour de France – an international competition built off something almost everyone has (or has access to) – a bike. But even if cycling is not their thing, I would like to provide more models to kids of free or low cost activities that they can do outside (hence my health and wellness festival area near the finish line of Amgen).
Terri: What does it feel like to be in a life of Service? What do you recommend for people who are interested in being more of service in our own community but aren’t sure how to reach out?
Maura: As cliche as it sounds, when you help others you really do get this amazing feeling…… It’s mutually beneficial. And when people work together in groups to accomplish larger tasks than they alone could do, it just blows the mind.
In this day and age of technology, I tell people to Google “volunteer” and the place they want to volunteer in. Or volunteer and the subject they want to learn about. In Santa Cruz, since I’ve lived here 25 years, I also love hooking people up to get things done. I always say “I don’t need to be the one who knows everything but I love knowing who does and connecting them to people with mutual interests/projects.”