SEI supports its consultants beyond the workplace in philanthropic efforts close to the hearts of many. SEI consultant Sarah Clark interviews fellow consultant Katie Britton, president of Friends Fighting Breast Cancer, on how this organization started and how SEI has shown its support along the way.
Q: So how did you get involved in the non-profit organization Friends Fighting Breast Cancer (FFBC)?
A: FFBC was started by my mother, Janet, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38, when I was 8 years old. Wanting to do something positive with her experience, she started FFBC in 1996. I jumped on board at the age of 15 and have been a member ever since, taking over as President of the organization in 2011.
Q: How does your organization play a part in the fight against breast cancer?
A: Our organization donates all funds raised to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Center to support breast cancer research. Mass General continues to be on the cutting edge of research and targeted treatments for cancer, and the money we donate acts as a springboard for what could be the next big breakthrough in cancer treatments.
Q: How have you been able to maintain the momentum and obtain support to manage FFBC?
A: When my mom passed away at the age of 51, my father stepped in to join the other co-chair to lead FFBC for nine years (one male on a committee of 20+ women…yikes!).
Then, in 2011, just after I started with SEI, Mass General informed us that the hospital was creating a Visionary Donor Wall for organizations that had donated $1 million to the hospital, and asked if FFBC wanted to make the commitment to meet that milestone by the end of 2014. Of course we said yes, and it was at this time that I took over as President of the organization. Setting this goal reinvigorated our organization and a whole new generation of women joined the committee, bringing a wide variety of perspectives and skills. We launched our website and became active in Social Media channels. With this newfound energy and with the help of amazing friends, supporters and companies like SEI, I’m very proud to say that since 2011, we have made donations of $190,000 toward our goal. We are now closing in on $1 million in total giving! With an organization completely run by volunteers, we work hard to raise each dollar, so to be up there with the likes of the Michael J. Fox foundation was quite impressive.
Q: In what ways has the SEI family supported you in this endeavor?
A: Since becoming President of the organization, SEI has been there every step of the way. I reached out to Maria Korengel and Ann Helfrich in Cincinnati to learn the “do’s & don’ts” of running a Silent Auction. Deb Mazrimas from Boston put her excel expertise to work to help create tracking files for our Sparkling Soiree Gala, and Chuck Kubik donated his flying skills to our Silent Auction. SEI continuously supports FFBC, not just through financial donations but through its presence at our events. Every FFBC event held since I joined SEI included at least one SEI’er to support the cause. I feel incredibly lucky to work for a company that is this involved in a cause that means so much to me. SEI truly is extended family.
Q: What are the next key events and opportunities for others to get involved in FFBC?
A: On Thursday, May 1st, we will be partnering with Michael Kors Burlington for our third private shopping event. It’s a fun night of champagne, hors d’oeuvres and shopping with 18 percent of sales directed to FFBC. This fall, we will have another run/walk in the city where my mother taught for 30 years. All information about our events, ways to donate and areas to get involved are on our website. By simply sharing information about our organization, you will help support our fight against breast cancer.
Q: How has FFBC impacted your life?
A: From a young age, I watched my mother face a challenging situation with a positive attitude. I saw her reach out to others fighting breast cancer to listen to their worries and offer support and hope. From seeing our family and friends rally to support her battle and the cause, I learned that every one of us has the power to make a difference.
I see the same parallels at SEI, where our consultants rally around each other so that we are successful as individuals and collectively as an organization. It’s not often you find a company that consistently goes above and beyond to make a difference at their clients, and one that is so supportive of its employees in both their professional and personal lives. I feel lucky to have been exposed to charitable work at such a young age and am proud to work for a company that supports and encourages these efforts.