Hi! I’m Mary Lee Walker. I’m a fundraiser.
I have over 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience mainly with small-sized nonprofit organizations. I am now using my education and experience in my consulting practice to fiercely advocate with small-sized nonprofits to achieve their mission and long-term growth.
I got into this crazy nonprofit world through volunteering, mostly with my children’s activities. If you are a parent, you know what I mean. I could never just drop my child off at school. I joined the PTA, ran committees and, yes, I am a former PTA president. I didn’t drop my son off at boy scouts, I served as pack leader. I couldn’t just take my daughter to crew practice, I joined the parent’s board.
Many years ago, when I had the opportunity to go back to school, I did a lot of soul searching on who I wanted to be when I grew up. I did a personality test which matched natural abilities and traits with career paths. My scores peaked in business and communications abilities, and I had traits similar to people in public relations and fundraising careers. I also got hold of the book What color is your parachute?. The book (still a best seller) is all about finding your passion. In doing the book’s exercises, I realized what I loved was my volunteer work. Hmm? I thought…fundraising is working with volunteers and nonprofit organizations. I already had an undergraduate degree in business management, so I enrolled in Florida State University’s College of Communications; where I concentrated my studies applying public relations principles to nonprofit organizations as donor relations. I did my thesis research project looking at the manager and technician roles of fundraisers. This original research I am proud to say was used as the basis of a paper published in the Journal of Communications Management. Click here to learn more. While in school, I worked for a nonprofit whose mission focused on senior health care, Elder Care Services, as their Development Director.
Life’s journey sometimes takes a detour. My father, Chase Breiner, retired from Merrill Lynch after 30 years. Bored out of his mind, he opened up a restaurant in New Smyrna Beach, Chases On The Beach. When I got the chance to move back to Central Florida, I ended up becoming a manager at the family owned and operated restaurant. I learned a lot during this time about small business management, human resources, strategic planning, marketing, and customer service. I also learned how to work with an executive focused on the mission. My family sold the restaurant in 2009, which is when I got back into the nonprofit sector.
I have had the privilege of employment working with several nonprofits including Heart of Florida United Way, Lighthouse Central Florida, Christian Services Center, Jewish Family Services and Dave’s House. Over the years, I have raised millions of dollars working with limited resources, constricted budgets and a variety of boards. I earned the credentials of Certified Fund Raising Executive in 2015 and am a Past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter. I uphold the Donor Bill of Rights because it is the foundation for ethical fundraising. I adhere to the AFP’s Code Of Ethical Principles and Standards because it separates me as a professional from those… who just aren’t.
I look back through my journey, and the common thread is service. I want to use my gifts and talents to make the world a better place. I do this by coming alongside the organizations I collaborate with and helping them achieve their mission goals. I am a nonprofit gladiator fiercely advocating to make the world a better place. Click here to read why I call myself a gladiator. Plus, I’m a huge Russell Crow fan.
I am becoming who I wanted to be when I grew up.
To summarize my qualifications:
Masters of Science in Communication
Bachelors of Science in Business Administration
Certified Fund Raising Executive
Experienced in Nonprofit Leadership
Experienced in Small Business Management
Adherence to the highest ethical standards of fundraising
Hi! I’m Mary Lee. I’m a fundraiser.
Let me fiercely advocate for your nonprofit organization.
Contact me for a free consultation.
Let’s get LinkedIn! https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryleewalker/
“What we do in life… echoes in eternity.”- Maximus