I fell into fundraising by accident – through one of my first jobs working in the Advancement Office of my alma mater, Webster University. That experience led to positions with a small social service agency, where I really discovered my passion for philanthropy. At the same time, I was also pursuing my MBA. I was thrilled when I secured a position working for St. John’s Mercy Foundation (now Mercy Health Foundation St. Louis) as their Corporate Relations Manager. The position was a perfect mix for me – blending my love for philanthropy with my interest in the corporate sector.
My decision to make health care philanthropy a career was driven more by my affinity for my organization. Mercy Health had always been an organization I felt passion towards – it was where I and my sons all received our care. That passion was solidified when my youngest son spent two weeks in the Mercy Hospital St. Louis neonatal intensive care unit after being born seven weeks early. One evening during his stay, I remember very distinctly walking through the hospital to try to find the foundation office. It was closed when I walked past, but I said to myself, “I think I’d like to work here someday.” Ten months later, I was working in that very office. I left Mercy to pursue other opportunities outside of health care philanthropy in 2011. When I came back to Mercy in 2015, it definitely had the feeling of coming home.
One of the first lessons I learned was to be proactive in connecting with other professionals whom you admire. I have been incredibly fortunate to have a number of mentors who were generous with their time and talents. Their guidance and counsel have been invaluable to me.
I have three amazing sons – Dylan (18), Ethan (16), and Logan (10). They each are so unique in their personalities and interests, yet they all have compassion and care in their hearts. It’s often the little things that remind me of how fortunate I am that they are the people they are – like watching them opening doors for others or helping out when they see someone in need. An added bonus is that they are all hilarious in their own way – they always make me laugh.
Learn more about the award, including criteria and the nominations process here.