Daily Hampshire Gazette
B2B ID: Wendy Lane Wright
(Published in print: Monday, July 7, 2014)
How many on your staff: 400
What you do: I cultivate relationships with our supporters and donors as well as raise funds that enable our agency’s mission to serve and improve the lives of 7,000 people each year.
I’ve also supported the mission of our agency as a human resource professional, inspiring, coaching and training staff in the programs that strengthen individuals, families and our community.
Experience: A native Berkshires girl, I connected with nonprofits when I lost my parents at an early age, attending the local YMCA, which stabilized my life and made me smile when my life got rough, giving me a passion for charitable work. Early in my career as a wife and mother of three small children, I worked on finding a sustainable way to put food on our skinny table. To make a better life for my family, I became a community volunteer.
My passion for leadership started when I became an award-winning speaker and community leader as an Extension Specialist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This work fostered a deep desire to help underserved members in my community make positive changes in their lives. So, I decided to attend college, receiving my bachelor’s degree in governmental studies from Smith College with a focus in behavioral psychology, community organization and change.
This experience changed my life for the better, and as a life long learner, I have spent the last 24 years in various nonprofit and volunteer capacities sharing that transformational experience with others.
The Market: Carson provides mental health and rehabilitation services. Today, mental illness afflicts one in four adults and one in ten children.
How you reach out to it: Traditional media, radio, publications, email marketing, presentations and social media. I raise visibility by creating a wider network of support in the Greater Springfield area and beyond through community outreach and collaborative partnerships.
What financing hurdles have you faced and how have you handled them? Carson is primarily funded by state contracts, Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance. These sources don’t cover the full cost of services, so I seek funding from foundations, businesses, community supporters and annual fundraisers.
Key to success: I care about people and use my skills and professional abilities to improve their lives.
Challenges: Carson went from serving 4,500 people a couple years ago to serving 7,000 each year, in 40 communities, from Pittsfield to Ware.
Misstep you learned from: The first federal grant I worked on was initially declined, so I quickly learned to forge successful funder relationships to successfully get that grant.
What others could learn from you: How to inspire groups with a call to action and to make positive change.
Who helped mentor you professionally? Ella Hewins, a former colleague at Old Colony Envelope, is a humble lady who cared for her family during the Great Depression, and now in the era of an ever changing service industry, shared, “show up every day, do your best, and make it happen.” Today her words still inspire me.
Top goals for 2014: I have a deep desire to leave my community more stable, one where my neighbors flourish and grow, by doing everything in my power to provide access to the resources and education that they need to accomplish this.
Advice for others seeking business success: Find a great mentor, who empowers you to grow, encourages you through your failures and celebrates your successes.
Parting thought: Believing that we all belong to the family of humanity, and life is finite inspires me to listen to others and work toward lasting change for good.
The B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle of Beetle Press in Easthampton, a PR and communications firm. www.beetlepress.com.