Monday, 23. December 2013
By Kathleen Norton-Schock, MCWT marketing and communications team
“When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we may never see will benefit from our actions, even as we enjoy the gifts sent to us from a donor upstream.” Dr. Maya Angelou
I have been a volunteer for MCWT for 10 years this month, having become active in December 2003. In my first 18 months, I was just an occasional MCWT helper, balancing philanthropic volunteer work at HAVEN with a busy career at CA Technologies, helping my husband run his small business, supporting a large extended family, enjoying strong relationships with friends, having an active social life, and much more along with my MCWT activity.
But in late 2004, my enthusiasm for giving back to our technology circle to a larger degree was ignited by many meaningful discussions. The first chats were with one of my closest colleagues (Sue Andrews, still at CA but no longer — sadly — in Michigan); then great interactions with a number of MCWT members/leaders who were stepping up to do even more (Tracy-Ann Palmer, Beth Vance, Cherri Musser, Jane Sydlowski, and Michelle Pallas particularly stand out in my mind); and then forming a friendship, which has deepened considerably over the last 9 years, with one of MCWT’s founders, the visionary Rosemary Bayer. For me, it is always people that will inspire me and will come first. While I am definitely and consistently an ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs (and TJ means oriented to data, concepts and ideas), I think it is that dominant “E” (extroversion) that always wins out. Ha! But no matter why I got inspired to give more, I did. We all have our various triggers, don’t we?
So from early 2005 through early 2010, there was very little about marketing and communications at MCWT and the MCWT Foundation in which I was uninvolved or did not lead. With the help of the talented Becky Johnson and a team of people we recruited, we created a newer brand, fostered and improved our image, were instrumental in the launch of quite a few new Foundation and council initiatives and events (most of which continue to this day), and reached out through every imaginable communication/media outlet to get the MCWT word out to as many people as possible. At the risk of being immodest, I know we did a stellar job with minimal resources. And being volunteers, we tried to do it well, and still maintain balance in our lives. (Although my ever-patient husband, the hyphenated Dale Norton-Schock, might dispute that last statement…LOL).
To this day, I am still involved, to a lesser degree, in the marketing/communications team now ably led and fostered by that same Becky Johnson (now Becky Price!), with whom I have forged another strong friendship over the years. I am consistently awed by her, and other MCWT leaders, and the level of volunteer talent we keep attracting and utilizing to further our mission.
As the acclaimed and eloquent Maya Angelou has said, it is truly a PAY IT FORWARD process. Upstream, someone inspired me, and made me think and grow in ways I could not have imagined. Downstream, my efforts have helped countless girls and women enter schools or professions which will help them blossom; helped our corporate sponsors/partners grow, through getting a more qualified pool of talent to contribute to their innovation and progress; and helped my adopted state of Michigan become an even more attractive place for technology-oriented talent to thrive.
I am so glad I took those first steps in 2003; and chose to really plunge in as a leader in late 2004. The experience has enriched my life so much. To me the next decade looks even brighter. With the strong MCWT infrastructure being forged, new energy coming from our executive director, Janette Phillips, and her team, and the consistent and growing ranks of amazing women in our membership and on our board, I can envision more rapid growth, more girls and women being mentored and helped, and more women giving back. It’s awesome, isn’t it?
Happy holidays! May this generous season inspire all of us to continuously be part of the vortex of positive giving and growth that is at the heart of MCWT.
Kathleen Norton-Schock is the co-founder and chief connection officer for ardentCause L3C, a woman-owned company dedicated to serving the nonprofit industry with technology solutions and services. She has a 30-year career that spans full P&L management at several Fortune 1000 technology companies (Unisys and CA Technologies); the presidency of a medium-sized national contact center software company (Telecorp Products Inc.); marketing and strategic planning consultancy stints (Onset Marketing, Arzika and Solidworks) and ownership of two other startup companies. In her volunteer life, she also served for six years as vice president of marketing/communications for MCWT and the MCWT Foundation.