A Message from the Executive Director
Hello CURE Friends & Supporters,
Happy Summer and Happy June! There is a lot to celebrate during this month – National Cancer Survivor’s Day, the end of a school year, graduation, Father’s Day…here at CURE, we are celebrating Mary Gallis. As you may know, Mary is retiring from CURE after a 17 year long career here. If you have had any interaction with CURE over the past 17 years, chances are that you have, in some way, been in contact with Mary. In 2014, I nominated her for the RBJ Nonprofit Career Achievement Award. I would like to share with you how much Mary has meant to me and to CURE. (I apologize about the length, but it doesn’t nearly express enough how integral Mary Gallis has been to this organization):
“I am writing to you today regarding my nomination of Mary Gallis for the Career Achievement Award. Mary’s official title is the Director of Operations for the CURE Childhood Cancer Association, but a more appropriate title would be the “lifeblood” of CURE. The definition of “lifeblood” is “the indispensable factor or influence that gives something its strength and vitality”. This is absolutely true of Mary. She has been an integral part of CURE for 15 years. If you ask anyone who has been involved with the organization over the past 15 years, no matter what level of involvement they had, they would smile and say that they know Mary Gallis. It is very apparent that she gives 110% to CURE each and every day. She selflessly does whatever she can for the organization, attends as many events as she can (regardless of her own personal schedule) and is a true advocate for the organization. She truly believes in our mission as a nonprofit and does whatever she can to fulfill the mission. The knowledge she has about the events, the families we help and our organization as a whole is incredibly immense. She takes the time to get to know the families, show them compassion and still manages to fulfill her specific job duties. She is such a role model to me and I aspire to be like her, even if I only end up being just ½ the person she is because I know that will still be incredible. Her strength is admirable, especially her strength in making decisions and doing the right thing. She is a quick-thinker, optimistic, a hard-worker and innovative. She is the pulse of this organization and it would not be the same without her.
Mary is a leader. I came across an article in Forbes recently about the “Top 10 Qualities That Make a Great Leader” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/) and couldn’t help but think this article was written about Mary. You see, she was previously the Associate Director of the CURE Childhood Cancer Association, but wanted to step back from the organization a little bit because her daughter (who is a Leukemia survivor) had her first child – Mary’s first grandchild, a granddaughter. Despite the incredible celebration of this miracle baby, Mary still continues to devote an incredible amount of her time and efforts to CURE and, quite frankly, to me. She has been mentoring me, teaching me about different aspects of the job and overseeing my planning of our two very large fundraising events. I couldn’t do my job without Mary’s help. The Forbes article describes leaders as honest, communicating with others, a sense of humor, committed, have a positive attitude, are creative, intuitive and can inspire. I was trying to cut down on how many of these qualities to discuss in regards to Mary, but I can’t, because she possesses all of them. Mary makes honest and ethical behavior a key value, which sets an incredible example for myself and my colleagues. Honesty should be at the forefront of our minds in all decisions we make – especially in the nonprofit sector. It is important that we articulate what we are doing and are transparent to those outside of the organization. Mary is a phenomenal communicator. She has helped me to create timelines and set goals to ensure the large fundraising events occur as they should. Despite her busy schedule, she always takes time to communicate with me about where certain items stand and how we can achieve the specific goals we have set. Mary is funny; she has a great sense of humor that keeps things light. Given the nature of the individuals we are working with (families coping with childhood cancer and chronic blood disorders), it is important to keep things light sometimes and to add humor to our day. Mary is so great at balancing humor with compassion. Again, I admire her ability to do this and hope that someday I can do the same. Mary’s commitment to CURE is unwavering. As I mentioned above, she goes above and beyond with everything she does – including attending as many events as she possibly can, helping everyone in the office as much as she can and dedicating her energies to improving the lives of local families. Her positive attitude is admirable as well. Working for a nonprofit can sometimes bring you down, especially if the economy isn’t doing well and people are unable to donate as much as they had in the past. But Mary puts a positive swing on just about everything. Her optimism is commendable. The creativity displayed by Mary over the past 15 years is inspiring. SHE is inspiring. She walked the journey of having a child with cancer and has dedicated a large part of her life to helping other families who are experiencing the same things she once experienced with her daughter. I believe that takes an incredible amount of strength. She is constantly coming up with new, creative, innovative ideas (including holding our volunteer appreciation dinner at Raymour & Flanigan, which sounded unconventional but worked out great for everyone involved). Mary is a leader.
Mary has stayed in touch with past CURE families and makes it a priority to get to know new CURE families…on top of all the other tasks she undertakes. She has put in countless hours of overtime (with the expectation of not getting paid). Last year, for example, she worked almost every weekend from mid-summer through the two major fundraising events in the fall. She makes CURE a priority and has for the past 15 years. She understands the importance of what we do here and fits her life in where she can, rather than fitting work into her life. CURE has undergone many changes and challenges in the past 15 years and I truly believe that Mary helped everyone adjust and succeed. The very fact that CURE is still up and running and successful is attributable to Mary.”
With that, Mary, we thank you. We thank you for your tireless dedication, compassionate disposition, your friendship, your love and your time. You have been an incredible gift to CURE and to the many families we have dedicated ourselves to helping. You have made a difference. We appreciate you.
Now, go and enjoy your family. Just don’t be a stranger because we will most definitely miss you.