portlandmaine

Katie Rutherford, Director of Development at Frannie Peabody Center

It is clear to me, Katie was born an advocate. Her words resonate with me. 
I asked Katie what message she would like me to share on her behalf: “Always try harder to consider and understand the challenges that other people face.  Be kinder to each other, but never stop fighting oppression, injustice, and inequality. 
Also, please remember to accept science.  It’s real.” 

When did you first get involved in working with non-profits? 

I was on a Student Athletic Advisory Committee in college that coordinated service projects for all the athletes.  At the same time, I was majoring in anthropology and taking a course on international development.  I was very fortunate to have an athletic scholarship that allowed me to travel around the country and meet so many different people.  I think all those things happening simultaneously made me realize I wanted a career in the non-profit sector working with people. 

Do you think you were born with the innate qualities to help others or did this evolve over time through travels and life experiences? 

I was brought up in an environment that taught us to stand up for what we believe in, particularly when those moments and movements involve inequality and injustice. I think my experiences have shaped and been shaped by those values, and certainly taught me a great deal along the way.  I think those lessons and the people I have met have given me strength and little more volume in my voice when it comes to working for organizations that help others.  

What lead you to your current position at Frannie Peabody Center? 

I had been living in South Africa for four years running a small community-based non-profit organization that I started in a tiny village on the coast.  When it became too difficult to sustain myself and the organization, I had to make the difficult decision to move back to the States.  One of the issues that really stuck with me after leaving was HIV/AIDS.  When I started looking for jobs in the non-profit sector,  I wanted to really narrow my focus on that issue.  Maine had been my home base while living overseas because my sister, niece, and nephew were all here.  When I saw the job of Development Director come up at Frannie Peabody Center,  I jumped at the chance – it seemed a little too good to be true in the logistical sense; working in the field I was interested in while also being able to be so close to my family.  More than five years later, here I am. I feel very fortunate that I was able to figure out exactly what I was passionate about and have the resources, privilege, and support to call it work. 

Scenes from the 2017 Southern Maine AIDS Walk - Photos By Maine Running & Faces Maine by Maine Magazine || The 2018 Southern Maine Aids Walk/5k Run will be held 5/5/18. Eary bird registration will be available HERE on 2/1/18.


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Katie is passionate - passionate about her work, about advocacy, about that state of the world. She puts 200% of herself into everything she does. I wish I could bottle her passion and share it with everyone!
— Donna Galluzzo, Executive Director at Frannie Peabody Center

Can you explain what FPC is and what being The Director of Development includes? 

Frannie Peabody Center is Maine’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS services organization.  We provide direct services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the form of medical case management, housing assistance, and behavioral health counseling, and we also provide free HIV and Hepatitis C counseling, testing, referral, and outreach services.  We have an extensive history and compelling legacy with Frannie Peabody.  She was a grandmother – in her eighties in the early 1980’s when she lost her grandson to AIDS.  Never one to sit on the sidelines, she was an outspoken and unexpected advocate for those affected by HIV/AIDS at a time when many people would refuse to acknowledge the challenges and urgency of the issue. She rallied people together and was a transformative leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Maine. One of the things I admire most about her, having only experienced the stories second-hand, is how she coupled a very compassionate and loving spirit with being an incredibly strong and determined fighter.  I think that’s something that has carried on at the agency because of her.  Being the development director is traditionally about fundraising – that includes grant writing, events, maintaining the social media and web platforms, responding to state and federal proposal requests, and donor relations.  However, being a small agency under 20 staff members, we really operate as a team.  Non-profits are never working with excess capacity, that’s for sure, so we all jump in where we can across programs and projects. We celebrate the success together, and we feel the hits together. It doesn’t make it easy, but I think it makes us a stronger agency as a whole.

Frances W. Peabody   (April 18, 1903 – June 26, 2001), known as  Frannie , was an  HIV / AIDS  activist. Her work as an activist began at the age of 80 when her eldest grandchild was diagnosed with AIDS and continued for 18 years until her death in 2001. - Via  Wikipedia

Frances W. Peabody (April 18, 1903 – June 26, 2001), known as Frannie, was an HIV/AIDS activist. Her work as an activist began at the age of 80 when her eldest grandchild was diagnosed with AIDS and continued for 18 years until her death in 2001. - Via Wikipedia

What are your thoughts on state & federal funding cuts on healthcare in general, but specifically HIV/AIDS Testing and Prevention Programs? Has this affected you? 

I think the outlook for social services has taken a devastating blow, especially over the past twelve months.  Funding & policies that negatively impact immigration, housing, education, climate, and so on, have a huge impact on health, and all these factors play a critical role in living healthy with HIV/AIDS as well as preventing transmission.  As a low incidence state, Maine has been dealing with cuts to HIV/AIDS funding for many years in line with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy shifting funds to areas of higher incidence.  From a national and global perspective, of course, we want resources to be focused in a strategic way on the areas that are hit the hardest by the epidemic.  But locally, we know the people that are facing overwhelming challenges every day, so it’s difficult not to get frustrated when resources are pulled away. When it comes to prevention, we’re talking about lowering infection rates and making sure people have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves.  So when these programs are effective, the data often illustrates a decreased need.  The problem with this perspective is that the need is very much still there even when new infections are not necessarily on the rise.  The most obvious and very recent example of this is when the closure of syringe exchange programs in Scott County, Indiana led to an HIV outbreak in 2015. As we continue to see the effects of a growing opioid epidemic in Maine, limited access to HIV prevention services also remains a concern.  HIV/AIDS can be managed as a chronic disease thanks to some incredible developments, but that does not mean it should be dismissed and overlooked. The stigma, fear, and ignorance that was so prevalent in the 80’s is still very much a reality for a lot of people today. As with any public health issue, we have to remain committed to evidence-based strategies, looking at the interconnectedness of different barriers, identifying and addressing disparities across communities.  We have to treat people with respect and understanding, and not become complacent. 

In honor of #GivingTuesday, CFCWEAR (Catalyst For Change -- clothing that creates change) collaborated and donated 100% of profits from BRAVE shirts to the Frannie Peabody Center.

What is one challenge and lesson you've learned from your role(s) in leadership?

One thing that I continue to face is that sometimes no matter how hard you work, you will not win every battle.  I grew up thinking that as long as I worked hard enough, nothing was out of reach.  And sure, you will come up against the “you can’t do that, you’re too [insert condescending insult here]”, but I was taught I could do anything I put my mind to. My sister and I have a bit of a joke that the second you tell one of us we can’t do something, well, then, we’ll definitely do it. That kind of determination will definitely carry you through some trying times, but in the tumultuous waves of legislative policy, executive power, money, medicine, and the occasional “not a chance in hell”, you have to accept some failure.  Not to rain on my childhood parade, but I think that lesson helps with getting back up and holding on to even more hope and fire as you face the next challenge.  

What is one invaluable resource that has helped in the sustainability of FPC?

The resiliency of our staff and clients is what has kept Frannie Peabody Center going for over thirty years.  It’s a pretty amazing place to walk into every day, knowing that you are surrounded by people who are determined, compassionate, and incredibly capable.  

I would be remiss to not mention our supporters who have been with us every step of the way – whether through advocacy or fundraising. Because of so many strong individuals that came before us, many of whom are no longer with us, we have federal funding for housing, case management, prevention services, and effective medication for those living with HIV/AIDS. It’s easy to get bogged down by red tape and funding cuts, but I try to remind myself that we are very lucky to have access to those resources.

What do you like to do outside of work that contributes to your career? 

Listen to a lot of NPR, and run. (the NPR to stay current, the running to blow off steam and think of a plan after hearing about all the bad news on NPR)

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment? 

I’m proud that I’ve always tried to put my all into everything, both personally and professionally.


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Katie is generous with her heart, her time and her mind. She is present and accountable in a very purposeful way.
One word to describe Katie: Nimble
— Anne Rutherford, Katie's Sister

I'd like to share one message with the world on your behalf, what should I share? 

Always try harder to consider and understand the challenges that other people face.  Be kinder to each other, but never stop fighting oppression, injustice, and inequality. 

Also, please remember to accept science.  It’s real.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

Not so much a quote but a philosophy and quality – Ubuntu.

 
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Loosely translated, it means “I am because we are”.  It’s a concept that was used as a founding principle in post-apartheid South Africa that focuses on the interconnectedness of people.  It’s something I’ve carried with me for a long time and thought about a lot.  Desmond Tutu explains it as “my humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.” I think if more people took the time to read about and strive for ubuntu, there would be much less division, and much more understanding and accountability.  When you see yourself as part of the whole of humanity, you can’t ignore issues or turn a blind eye.  It helps in understanding that you are made up of all the good and bad that we see around us and forces us to recognize that our actions have ripple effects.

In one word describe yourself: 

goofy

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To Connect w/ Katie & 

 
 

Upcoming Events: 

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Chris Marine, Media Planner|Partner MMP & Entrepreneur

After establishing himself at some of the largest media companies in the country, Chris started his own business. He grew up in an entrepreneurial family and dreaming big is in his DNA.

What is Marine Media Partners?

Marine Media Partners (MMP) is an advertising agency specializing in media planning and buying, social media management, and search engine marketing. We’re super proud to be one of the first media buying shops in Maine to adopt using comScore data to help us pinpoint more effective advertising opportunities for our clients. Our goal is to help our clients achieve long term business growth by getting their marketing message in front of the right people. We like to say we’re connecting brand, media and consumer in more meaningful ways.

" MMP  MISSION is changing the way brand, media and consumers connect. These three pillars of our culture have an awesome responsibility in helping shape our communities on a local and global scale. Our goal is to help brands connect with their customers in positive and engaging ways for long-term business growth."

"MMP MISSION is changing the way brand, media and consumers connect. These three pillars of our culture have an awesome responsibility in helping shape our communities on a local and global scale. Our goal is to help brands connect with their customers in positive and engaging ways for long-term business growth."

Can you tell us about your previous career of working in network & broadcast television? 

Working in broadcast news was a dream come true! At my core, I’m a story teller and I take what I learned in that relatively short chapter with me into every aspect of my personal and professional life. I started working at the NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine my junior year of college and started out as an Associate Producer. I worked my way up to being a Multimedia Journalist in a very short time, while being a full time student, where I helped produce newscasts, gather news stories and report live on the air. Being a reporter was by far the most humbling experience. As a reporter you see people at their best and more often worst times and to be invited into people’s homes as a trusted source to share those stories… it still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. As rewarding as it was it did take a toll. When you work in news it not only tests your own stamina but it tests all the personal relationships you have around you as well. I’ve never had a job that took me from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows all in one shift. It’s seriously a rollercoaster of emotions! You’re running off adrenaline all day long. I always got engulfed in the stories I was reporting on and carried them with me far after the work day wrapped up - heck, I still carry those stories I reported on with me. I ended up leaving news for my family and for my own health. Even in my short time of two years I feel like it accelerated my personal and professional development by ten years. Working in news is fast paced and every day presents the demand of learning something new. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been able to shake that adrenaline of broadcast news off. I always have to keep moving forward and learning new things. I thank my time working in news for that mentality.

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What has led you to build your own business?

I’m fortunate that I’ve grown up in a family full of entrepreneurs, so that drive to build and create something better has always been a part of me. I struggled for a while to come with an idea that would solve a real problem. After working in news I spent the next several years establishing myself in some of the country’s largest and most diversified media companies in the country such as Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group working as an advertising rep. I was successful because I genuinely cared for every client as if their business were my own. It was my clients that inspired me to start this agency. In today’s flooded information age there’s never been a greater demand for clarity in advertising. My mission to inform and advocate for the brands I work with was the root of me starting MMP.

"Dreaming. The most powerful of motivation. Don't be afraid to dream big, dream often, and never stop the pursuit of achieving them. And most importantly don't let other people limit your dreams." -Chris Marine via  Instagram

"Dreaming. The most powerful of motivation. Don't be afraid to dream big, dream often, and never stop the pursuit of achieving them. And most importantly don't let other people limit your dreams." -Chris Marine via Instagram

How do you stay up-to-date with the changes and evolutions in digital/social media marketing and advancing technology? 

It’s not easy to keep up with the current media landscape, that’s for sure. It’s a really exciting time though to be a part of the industry because in many ways it’s going through an incredible renaissance. The word “digital” use to mean online media channels, now digital components are applied to nearly every medium. I have chosen to invest significantly into the same technology and data sources that the national media companies have their hands on to measure even traditional media like broadcast television. Even television which most people consider “traditional” is anything but traditional! It’s measured daily in thousands of households, we can see everything from when someone changes the channel in a program to where they change the channel to. Data is a key indicator today in how we study people’s behaviors and consumption patterns and I pay close attention to that. I treat every day like a class. Along with aggregating and analyzing data I spend at least two hours a day just reading. Reading trade journals, advertising news sties, competitor’s works, and most importantly getting out and hearing from business owners. Business owners will always have the best pulse on the consumer. Meeting and learning from them is the best education.

What do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your career? 

A recent endeavor I’ve taken on which has been instrumental to my personal and professional development has been to teach. I went back to my alma mater at the University of Southern Maine to help students in the media studies program learn more about the advertising industry and the impact it has in our culture and media landscape. I learn so much from all of the students, it’s incredible! So while this class is technically work, like everything else I do, it sure doesn’t feel like it.

What has been the biggest challenge and lesson you've faced so far?

The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to let go of some control in my business. Being a perfectionist isn’t always all that healthy. I like to have my hand in every part of the business from the strategy, media planning and buying, to the campaign management and reporting, but in order to maintain the absolute best service at the rate of growth we’re currently at I know it isn’t sustainable as a one or two person shop. My Italian grandmother always used to say the old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day”… I have to remind myself of that frequently. And the perfectionist side of me has a challenge with that sometimes.

What are your top 2 most memorable client experiences? 

Only two! There have been so many! One of my favorite experiences would have to be when I was working with a local client in Southern Maine and they invited my wife and I down to visit them in Pennsylvania for a weekend where they run their other business. When my client offered it to me, I don’t think he was expecting me to take him up on it and his reaction when I shook his hand with enthusiasm was priceless! I love when I get to dive deep into the story behind a business and the entrepreneurs that bring it to life. It’s inspiring!

If you could work with any brand in the world, what would it be and why?

It’s funny, when I think about who I want to work with I’m not so much dazzled by a particular brand as I am with an actual person and purpose. Sure there are brands that when I see their advertising and try to understand their strategy it totally rocks me and I just fall in love with their message and I think, “dang, that would be awesome to be able and help share that story” but I approach business in reverse. I can literally get just as excited about a project with a local mom and pop shop as I am with the idea of working with a national brand as long as the story is there. When I meet with new clients I’m focused on one thing, finding their WHY. When we stop pitching products in ads and move towards why we’re actually in business… those are the stories that not only resonate with people and move businesses forward, but they move our culture forward. Those are the inspiring brands I want work with.

What is one "I couldn't live without it" App you use?

I have grown dependent on my Apple News app, it’s like my Pandora playlist for news… I finally have it tailored perfectly to my liking.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment? 

It has to be my own personal growth. I’ve always been driven to push myself outside of my comfort zone and through doing that I have learned so much about myself, my field of studies and most importantly what I feel is a well-rounded perspective and appreciation for life. When I think about my own personal accomplishment I can’t help but be grateful for my family, friends, colleagues, and everyone that has believed in me along the way. Putting up with a big dreamer like myself is definitely not easy… my wife is a saint! A lot of people -even myself sometimes- think I’m crazy for leaving a very successful and safe corporate job to start my own business, but Elise is always picking me up and dusting me off whenever I start to doubt myself. She never questions it. You need someone like that. What I’ve learned is that life is a team sport and I am so grateful to be surrounded by the best!

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

In one word, describe yourself: 

Passionate

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Heather Davis - Executive Director of LearningWorks

What is LearningWorks?

LearningWorks is an education nonprofit in Portland, Maine. We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. Our mission is to reimagine learning through innovative programs that help children, adults, and families realize their potential and build thriving communities. We offer five free programs for people who fall outside of traditional education structures. Those include an afterschool program for elementary school students, a community service program for young people facing disciplinary action at school or in trouble with the law, an English language program for New Mainers, an alternative high school program for kids who have dropped out of local schools, and an AmeriCorps program that provides 100 volunteers to struggling schools.

How did you first get involved in working with non-profits? 

My first nonprofit job was at an Audubon Society in Santa Fe, New Mexico! I helped out in the office and worked with kids in an environmental education summer camp program. 

At what point did you realize your passion for education would become a career path? 

After I finished college, I landed a job working as a writing teacher in an afterschool program in Harlem. I fell in love with teaching, with alternative education programs, and with the concept of using my career to serve a community and advance social justice. I was hooked from that point on and have stayed in education nonprofits and classrooms ever since.

What do you like to do outside of work that contributes to your career? 

I like to spend time with my family, be in nature, and read and write. I think all of those things help me learn, grow, and reflect on myself, my work, and my community, which is a source of strength when I’m on the job.

Can you tell us about your most favorite projects?

At LearningWorks, one of our programs is called Service Works. Service Works connects kids who are in trouble in some way – at school, or with the law – with meaningful community service opportunities that help make amends for their behavior and give them a safe, supportive space to reflect on what’s happened and what they’d like to change going forward. The team that runs this project at LearningWorks is really great at coming up with creative and beneficial community partnerships to make this program happen. They do everything from removing graffiti from public buildings and harvesting seaweed for community gardens to serving free community meals at local schools. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a little time with the program at Wayside Food Programs and during a trip to help another nonprofit (Furniture Friends) accept and organize furniture donations for needy families. So much good comes of this work for everyone involved, it always gives me a boost of hope and happiness when I check in with this program.

I’ve also really enjoyed working on our 50 Stories Project to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We’re partnering with local photographers to tell 50 stories about current and former staff, students, donors, volunteers, and partners who have made LearningWorks what it is today. It’s been so moving to meet all the subjects and learn their stories and the generosity of the photographers and other folks helping this project out has been truly inspiring.

50 STORIES PROJECT   || "We are excited to announce our 50 Stories project! This project will tell the stories of 50 current and former LearningWorks students, clients, staff, and volunteers who have been and continue to be an inspiration to us. We are extremely fortunate to have teamed up with local photographers who are generously donating their talent to this project and to the individuals who have enthusiastically agreed to share their stories. We hope you enjoy this journey as we honor our past and invite you to be part of our next 50 years!" 

50 STORIES PROJECT || "We are excited to announce our 50 Stories project! This project will tell the stories of 50 current and former LearningWorks students, clients, staff, and volunteers who have been and continue to be an inspiration to us. We are extremely fortunate to have teamed up with local photographers who are generously donating their talent to this project and to the individuals who have enthusiastically agreed to share their stories. We hope you enjoy this journey as we honor our past and invite you to be part of our next 50 years!" 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

This might sound crazy, but here goes. Honestly, the quote that I always come back to is one from a documentary project my friend Molly did with young people at The Telling Room when we worked there together. She helped a bunch of students go out on the street with audio recorders to ask strangers one question and use the answers to tell a story. One group of students asked people if they believed in Bigfoot. The responses were hilarious and moving. One man went on at length and talked about how learning about myths and legends like Bigfoot opens us up to learning about the world around us. He said, “Grab it and grasp it with energy. Be like astronauts of the world. Be astronauts of the forest and the sea.” I always come back to him saying it because it captures ideas that I like a lot. I loved the spontaneous poetry of it and wish that we could all speak that way more often. I loved the idea of being enthusiastic, diving into things, being creative, being bold, exploring, and leading.

In one word, describe yourself:

Real

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To Connect w/ LearningWorks:

Websites: LearningWorks.me  || Learning Works 50th Anniversary

Facebook: @LearningWrks || Instagram: @learningworksmaine

Email Heather: hdavis@learningworks.me