News Careers Contact People

Defining Value, Creating Impact

Share on Social

Takeaways from the first Meaningful Edges event

Pictured above: the Meaningful Edges panelists and moderators, including (from left to right) Jennifer Sodo, Sarah Malchow, Robyn McGill, Dan Schindhelm, and Fiesha Lynn Bell.

EUA recently hosted the inaugural Meaningful Edges event on the terrace of its Milwaukee office, bringing together leaders in senior living and related fields to learn from one another and seek inspiration through shared experiences.

The discussion featured three experts from leading nonprofit organizations in southeastern Wisconsin. EUA’s Dan Schindhelm introduced the panel, and Jennifer Sodo moderated the discussion. The panelists included:

Sarah Malchow
Chief Administrative Officer, Cedar Community

Fiesha Lynn Bell
Director of Development & Major Gifts, Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Robyn McGill
Marketing and Communications Director, Alzheimer’s Association | Wisconsin Chapter

These leaders generously shared their expertise on these ever-important questions for nonprofit organizations. Read a summary of the panelists’ responses to each question below.

Question 1: In a crowded nonprofit fundraising space, how do you help your organization define its value?

Question 2: How do you identify or prioritize individuals or corporations who may be the best fit for partnerships, donations and volunteerism?

Question 3: How have you leveraged the power of storytelling to create strong connections in the community at large and with specific individuals or partners?

Question 4: Boards can play a critical role in the success and reach of nonprofit organizations. How do you ensure board members are educated about and engaged in your cause?

Before the event finished, Fiesha, Sarah and Robyn offered their final thoughts about the importance of defining value to create an impact.

Fiesha Lynn Bell: “Figure out what your story is. What is the legacy you want to leave behind? Also, figure out who your partners are – that's how we connect with our community. We do it together.”

Sarah Malchow: “Be bold in telling your story. Be bold in asking for the money. Because if you're not, no one else is going to be. And if your cause is important enough for you to get up and spend time each day, each week, laboring in that work or volunteering your time, it's important enough for you to be bold in telling the story and be fearless in asking for the dollars or asking someone to help you do so.”

Robyn McGill: “In a city of millions, everyone has a story. Why should I care about yours? What's your hook? What elevates it? What makes me notice you?”

Meaningful Edges will be an annual event to inspire conversation on hot topics by bringing together thought leaders in related industries. Reflecting on its success, the event’s organizers shared their takeaways and why conversations like these are so important. “One of our goals for this event was to inspire attendees to look beyond their typical network of relationships for ideas to create meaningful impacts in their communities or industries," said Jennifer Sodo. "While many of our guests were leaders in the non-profit senior living sector, the lessons from the panelists are bigger than that one industry and apply just as easily to any organization looking to connect with their customers, donors or the wider community.”

“Looking around the room after the panel discussion, my excitement in anticipation of the event was replaced with an energy of renewed purpose," said Dan Schindhelm. "Hearing the panelists share why they do what they do and how they leverage the power of their communities to improve the lives of others was so powerful and stimulated so much discussion afterward. Even at the end of the night, the discussions were so energized that the excitement was palpable. We are so grateful that our panelists were willing to share their experiences and wisdom. I look forward to continuing this tradition of knowledge-sharing at future events.”

Sign up here to receive the latest news from the living studio and advance notice for our next event!

Jennifer Sodo , AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Living Market Leader

Jennifer is a Senior Living Market Leader in our Living Environment Studio in the Milwaukee office. Her inspiration for design stems from people and their stories.

Dan Schindhelm, AIA
Project Manager

Dan is a Project Manager for EUA in the Living Environments Studio in the Madison office. His role allows him to take part in a collaborative way, working with the Living Studio to schedule, budget and design requirements. Dan enjoys taking part in outdoor activities with his wife and two young children.