As Arc Broward’s Chief Marketing & Development Officer, Jessica is responsible for leading and providing operational and strategic direction to Arc Broward’s marketing, communications and fundraising functions with the goal of raising and growing financial resources for the agency, inspiring the community to support the needs of families served, and communicating to stakeholders the impact of Arc Broward’s work. Her specialties include fundraising, marketing, public relations, volunteer management, media relations, event planning, sales and business development, account management, and project coordination.
Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? Over the past six years I’ve been fortunate to be part of many amazing accomplishments within Arc Broward. If I had to pick one that I am most proud of it would be creating and growing the Miss Arc Broward Pageant: A Pageant to Empower Young Women with Disabilities. The friendships I have formed with the contestants and their families have changed my life in ways I never imagined. And being able to spend a weekend with my Arc Broward family supporting these young women as they take over the Parker Playhouse stage is always the highlight of my year!
What do you enjoy the most about your work? The people we serve and being surrounded by a dedicated team led by Dennis Haas and Julie Price.
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input? I am fortunate to have several mentors in my life including my dad who probably most regularly provides me with his input and consult. Looking back on who guided me in the early years after college it would be Jessica Munday, the owner of Trio Solutions, the first marketing and communications firm I worked for in Charleston, SC. She started her own business while raising her family and gives back in so many ways to her community. There were many things she taught me while working for her that I still carry with me, mostly that the statement “anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it” is true. She is living proof!
Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year? Miss Arc Broward Pageant, Delish and of course the Traveling Plate dinners!
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization? During my time in Leadership Broward’s Women Leading Broward Program, I learned that a strength I have is WOO (Winning Others Over). I think that’s key in the position I have where I am interacting with the community on behalf of Arc Broward, inspiring others to support the needs of families served, and communicating to stakeholders the impact of our work.
What is your greatest challenge at this time? Hours in the day! There are so many exciting initiatives and ideas we have and I want to be able to implement them all right away but definitely need more hours in the day to do so!
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years? Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others.
How do you relax? Netflix with my hubby at home on a Friday night
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? St. Lucia
What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? My mom’s homemade cheese rings (hopefully she reads this and sends me some!)
Is there an inspirational book you have read that you would recommend to others? The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing
What can make you laugh? My husband’s impersonations of me performing karaoke
What can make you cry? Watching one of our Preschoolers working so hard in our Therapy Gym to learn how to walk. You will never take for granted what you have been given in life when you see that type of determination.
When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? In kindergarten at the Catholic School I attended I wanted to be a nun! I grew out of that around third grade and decided I wanted to join the Peace Corps… then I think a psychologist?? I had big dreams!
What is your favorite sport? Is karaoke a sport? If so I pick that!
How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering? I think just leading by example. My parents are the reason that I am committed to serving the community. They exposed me at a young age through volunteering with our church and watching both of them give back in big and small ways. I remember the first mission trip my mom went on to build houses in Mexico and the time that my dad gave his winter coat to a young man in need. I am certain that my grandparents are who instilled this in them as well. Even today my dad is a mentor for job seekers through our program, Arc Works. I also think it’s important to remember that it’s the day-to-day actions of being kind, having empathy, and being the person you want your kids to be that will have the biggest impact long-term. I saw a post on Instagram the other day that said “Today I will be the person I want my daughter to be”. It really made me stop and think about my actions and if they are a reflection of that sentiment. I hope they are and that this will be why she wants to serve others.