Helping kids be safe, getting them fed, and making great places for them to play, Project Management techniques are being used to improve the lives of children.
Listen to the stories of Maria Gomez of Mary’s Center, Karen McLoughlin of No Kid Hungry, and Katrina Hill of KaBOOM! as they tell how their missions are served through organizing work and resources in the Project Management way.
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Maria Gomez is the founder of Mary’s Center, a community health organization that provides health care, education and social services in the DC metropolitan region. The goal of Mary’s Center is to provide healthcare early and throughout the individuals’ lifecycle, support families and individuals in their own community and guide individuals to move up the economic ladder through education and training opportunities.
Under Maria’s leadership, Mary’s Center has grown from an initial budget of $250,000 serving 200 participants at a basement in 1988 to an annual budget of $42 million serving close to 40,000 individuals at six locations and a mobile unit in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Maria is among the strongest leaders in the region. As testament to her significant commitment to give back to the community, President Barack Obama selected her as one of the 18 recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Maria is frequently recognized for her role in the nation’s capital health care system and has become a recurrent health advisor for the District of Columbia Mayor’s office. As such, Mayor Muriel Bowser, as well as former DC Mayors Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty, have named member of their transition committee.
Maria is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, the Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, the Washingtonian of the Year, the Washington Examiner’s Amazing Change Award, and the Diane Bernstein Children’s Champion Award by DC Action for Children, among others. In October 2010 the Washingtonian Magazine named Maria as one of the 45 individuals who shaped Washington DC between 1965 and 2010. The magazine also acknowledged Mary’s Center for its role as a “critical piece of the region’s healthcare system.” In February 2011 Maria was recognized as one of the 19 Upstander leaders in DC for serving as an inspiration to others by making a positive difference in their communities and around the world.
It was Maria’s hard work and dedication that led First Lady Michelle Obama to choose Mary’s Center as her first official visit to a non-profit organization in February 2009. Since then, Maria has strengthened her ties with the Obama administration and has become a frequent guest of the White House. In May 2010, Maria was one of the 200 guests invited to attend the State Dinner held in honor of the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala. In October 2010, the First Lady accepted Maria’s invitation to be the Honorary Chair of Mary’s Center’s annual gala.
In 1995, First Lady Hillary Clinton also visited Mary’s Center during the National Immunization Week in recognition of the Center’s efforts to get children vaccinated and ready to learn and thrive in school.
Maria currently serves as a board member of United Medical Center and Sidwell Friends School. She is also on the Advisory Boards of the DC Fiscal Institute, and SECDCC (State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council).
Prior to establishing Mary’s Center, Maria worked in hospitals throughout the area, from the emergency room to the neurosurgical unit. Later, she transferred to the DC Department of Health as a public health nurse providing both primary care and home-based care throughout every Ward in DC. She also worked with the Red Cross in community education programming and disaster services throughout the country, and at DC Visiting Nurses Association.
Originally from Colombia, South America, Maria immigrated to the United States with her mother at age 13 and attended DC Public Schools. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley.
Maria and Miachel Rexrode have been married for 23 years and have a 19-year-old daughter, Amalia.
Karen McLoughlin is the Senior Operations Manager of Culinary Events for Share our Strength, a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America. Karen leads the logistics for over 40 Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry and No Kid Hungry Dinner events annually, including revenue management, volunteer engagement, national sponsorship activation, and event excellence standards. Karen previously worked on national operations for Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters® program, ran communications and field operations in non-profit electoral politics, and as a culinary instructor and cook.
Karen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Economics from American University and a Culinary Arts Degree from Johnson and Wales University. Originally from Chicago, IL, Karen currently lives in Washington, DC with her fiancé, Michael.
Katrina Hill is a native of San Diego, CA – America’s Finest City! – and attended the University of California at San Diego, double majoring in General Biology and Political Science/International Relations. After college, Katrina served two terms with AmeriCorps NCCC in Perry Point, MD, first as a Corps Member and then as a Team Leader.
It was during her time in AmeriCorps that Katrina first became aware of the work being done by KaBOOM!. She joined KaBOOM! as a Project Manager in 2012, working in the Washington, DC office. In her 3 years with KaBOOM! Katrina has coordinated 35 community-built playground projects across the United States and Canada.