*Member profiles written by Dennis O’Brien
Samantha Ferguson serves as Communications and Graphic Design Coordinator at Veterans For Peace, an international organization with 140 chapters comprised of military veterans, their family members and allies dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war and healing the wounds of war.
“I was so lucky to have a friend introduce me to Nonprofit Marketers Network,” she said. “Since returning to Saint Louis, it has been an invaluable tool in terms of professional development, learning new skills, and meeting new people!” So valuable, in fact, that she joined the NMN Board and currently serves as 2nd Vice President.
As an undergraduate at American University, Samantha organized events for the Phi Mu Fraternity and served as an intern to help organize an International AIDS Conference in 2012. After graduating with a degree in Public Communications and Marketing in 2014, she moved to Dublin, Ireland for a year on a Working Holiday visa where she worked for a tour company and traveled as much as possible. After returning to the states she moved to Los Angeles briefly before returning home to Saint Louis to be closer to family and bring her skills and experience to Veterans For Peace.
Courtney Casteel is deeply committed to protecting the environment and runs communications for Missouri Coalition for the Environment. Previous to this role, in 2018, Courtney completed a seven month Special Events internship with the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, a division of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. She then served as Marketing and Communications Coordinator for earthday365.
Courtney earned her BA in Marketing & Sustainability Studies in 2020 from Webster University and will complete her MA in Management/Communications at Webster in 2022.
“I value personal growth which is why I am passionate about the networking opportunities that NMN/CSPRC provides and am delighted to serve on its Communications Committee,” she said. “I encourage nonprofit professionals to join and benefit by attending our monthly meetings.”
Courtney loves to read about spirituality and metaphysical studies, do yoga, meditate, appreciate nature, and care for her cat, July. She has traveled to 8 countries since 2013, and began to purse a vegan lifestyle in 2018. Back in 2012, Prior to her career in marketing, she signed with Barbizon Modeling & Acting Agency and began working trade show events as a model and spokes model.
Matt West, MS, Creative Specialist, is responsible for managing the Neighbors Credit Union brand while developing creative designs in print and digital.
“I had attended events in the past when NMN was CSPRC, but the name-change to Nonprofit Marketers Network really got my attention,” Matt said. “I thought joining would be a good investment for my professional growth and serving on the Communications Committee a way to give back. I enjoy working with nonprofits.”
Matt earned his BS in Marketing and MS in Management and Leadership from WGU Missouri (Western Governors University). He worked as Graphic Designer for Auto Source for 3.5 years, for Faith Church St. Louis for 3.5 years, and as Senior Graphic Design Specialist for Lutheran Senior Services from 2015-2020.
He currently serves as Venue Coordinator for Creative Mornings St. Louis and is an advocate for WGU Missouri which provides affordable, competency-based, online education.
Matt loves to travel. He “loved Venice and Rome, and Savannah is beautiful at Christmastime.” He is also “a big foodie - love trying out new local eateries and supporting them—especially during these times.”
Paula Kinney, M.Ed., chief executive of HavenHouse since Feb 2020, joined the HavenHouse team in 2008. For 12 years, she has managed day-to-day operations of a 48,000 square foot facility that serves 8,000 economically needy patients of all ages and family caregivers annually who come to St. Louis each year to benefit from the critically needed medical care unavailable to them in their home communities. HavenHouse offers private lodging, 2 meals daily, 24-hour support and transportation to and from 19 medical centers three times daily. Since 1995, HavenHouse has served 38,500 patients and 62,100 family caregivers from all 50 states and 67 countries.
“We joined as an organizational member so that all our staff can take advantage of the stimulating programs and great networking Nonprofit Marketers Network provides,” she said. “We’re very excited by the possibilities this offers for professional development.”
Paula earned her BA in Social work from St. Louis University in 2002 and her M.Ed. in Counseling from UMSL in 2008. She worked as the Lead Adolescent Care Specialist for Lakeside Center run by St. Louis County Government from 2002-2008.
On a personal level, Paula enjoys travel (“Take me to the beach!”) and cooking for her husband Alan and 16-year old son AL—as well as caring for their dog Guinness.
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter “can write about anything.” She is an award-winning writer, editor and proofreader who began freelancing full time in 1984.
“I am new to the Nonprofit Marketers Network and hope to increase my knowledge of area community service organizations through its programs and the opportunities it offers to meet and interact with other nonprofit professionals,” she said. “I love working with nonprofits. There’s something special about applying my communications skills to making the world or a community better.”
Ruth, a native of Rochester, NY, earned a BA in French and general studies from UMSL and did a year of graduate work in journalism as a Ford Fellow at the UM-Columbia. Before moving to Washington, DC, she worked as a community organizer with the Urban League of St. Louis, a reporter for the St. Louis Argus and a newsletter editor at Washington University. In DC, she worked for a magazine published by the Mexican Science Council and served as communications manager at a business trade association and chief of publications at the public hospital. She is known as the Queen of Networking, thanks to her active involvement in several professional communications and freelancing organizations.
After eight years in DC, 13 in Baltimore and 18 back home in Rochester, Ruth returned to St. Louis as a first-time homeowner with a condo across the street from Forest Park.
“I’ve always thought of St. Louis as my second home and had stayed in touch with friends and colleagues from when I lived here before. After my husband died in March 2018, I couldn’t handle staying where we had had most of our life together, and this is where I found a wonderful new life. I even adopted a cat from the Humane Society of Missouri — my first cat in more than 30 years!”
Marc Kinnear, MS, became the Development Manager in 2019 at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center, an organization founded in 1930 by an English immigrant who worked his way from rags to riches but still understood the hardships of orphans he saw living on the streets of St. Louis. It now serves clients of all ages.
Marc recently joined Nonprofit Marketers Network/CSPRC because, he said, “As the new kid on the block, joining CSPRC was a must for me. It’s an essential addition to my professional network so that I can learn more about other nonprofit agencies around the St. Louis area. CSPRC also offers me a way to learn about different strategies for strengthening the programs I am so passionate about in my current position.”
A professional with over five years of experience in university and business administration, and development, Marc earned his BS in Sociology and Anthropology from SIUE in 2014 and his MS in Gerontology from UMSL in 2016. He served for six months as a Graduate Assistant at UMSL, a practicum Student for MindsEye for 18 months before a 40-month stint at Washington University School of Medicine, working in a variety of capacities, including two years as a grants specialist in molecular oncology. In August of 2018, he moved from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. He assumed his current responsibilities at Thomas Dunn and currently serves as adjunct faculty at SIUE where he teaches grant writing classes.
On a personal level, Marc is a “un-trained.” Distance runner and former chef and culinary school graduate. He lives in Belleville, IL, with his wife Kristen and two children Kendall and Greyson.
Shannon Durio, MA, is the Managing Director of Prison Performing Arts, a multi-discipline, literacy and performing arts program dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and adults in Missouri’s criminal and juvenile justice systems.
“In the nonprofit world, we learn to do so much with so little,” she said. “The resources offered, and relationships developed through Nonprofit Marketers Network have truly allowed me to maximize my impact in this field. I learn so much from my peers and am reminded that, together, we are building stronger communities.”
Prior to assuming those responsibilities in August 2019, she spent 15 years in development for national and regional nonprofit organizations, including the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Concordance Academy and the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition. In those roles she was responsible for donor relations, community and corporate outreach, volunteer management, special events, grant writing, database administration and meeting target revenue goals. After earning her BA from Judson University in 2005, she earned her MA in Organizational Leadership from Judson in 2010.
Shannon lives in O’Fallon, IL, with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Jocelyn Fundoukos manages all communications and marketing efforts for Operation Food Search, a BBB Accredited Charity which provides immediate hunger relief while also working to address the root causes of hunger. In addition, Jocelyn supports the advocacy efforts and innovative programs at OFS by helping change the conversation around food insecurity and champion change on federal, state and local levels.
“I have a passion for communicating the story behind vital work being done in the region,” she said. “When others connect to the humanity behind an issue, it’s possible to earn their support and collaboration. I am excited to be a new member of Nonprofit Marketers Network - STL and to join forces with other storytellers.”
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Jocelyn has worked in strategic communications and marketing, in addition to writing fiction, screenplays and short stories. As an actress, she is best known for playing Julie Camaletti in Guiding Light and Jessica Mitchell in Pacific Palisades.
Patti McCarty, MA, MFA, is a freelance writer with a passion for helping nonprofits tell their stories. Prior to founding McCarty Communications, she served on the marketing and communications team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation for five years. While there, her key focus was to help the foundation’s donors understand the pediatric research they funded.
Patti has been a member of CSPRC since 2013 and currently serves on the CSPRC Communications Committee editing Noteworthy. “I joined CSPRC because, for me, it’s all about keeping current on best practices and networking,” she said. “Plus, let’s face it, nonprofit communicators are the cool kids.”
Patti holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an MA in Marketing from Webster University and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She lives in the vibrant South Hampton neighborhood of South City with her husband and their beloved Goldendoodle Gracie.
McKenna Mitchell serves as Fundraising Events Coordinator & Development Associate at LifeWise STL (formerly Kingdom House).Prior to this role, she worked in marketing and events for Ballpark Village.
“I value CSPRC as a way to build up your network with like-minded individuals,” said McKenna, who serves on the Spectrum Committee. “It's inspiring to be in a room with people of different backgrounds and professions, all with the same intentions. As someone new to the nonprofit world, I've learned a lot from the panel discussions.”
McKenna graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Human Development & Family Studies, a minor in Public Service & Leadership, and a Multicultural Certificate in 2016. She also completed the Peace Corps Preparatory Program at Mizzou and has done numerous service-learning projects including two trips focusing on Sea Turtle Conservation work in Costa Rica, volunteering in a special needs school for two months in Ghana, volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, and teaching English classes in Cambodia.
McKenna currently serves on the FLOURISH St. Louis Community Leaders Cabinet, which was formed to achieve zero racial disparities in infant mortality through the St. Louis Region by 2033.
Linda Robinson, MA, has served as Director of Volunteer Recruitment of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri since April 2019. She was the Operational Team Lead for Wells Fargo Advisors for the prior 11 years, and Assistant Supervisor for A.G. Edwards and Son for the 18 years preceding that.
“I joined CSPRC to build my network with individuals in the nonprofit sector who have experiences in the field of public relations, marketing and volunteerism,” she said. “This knowledge will help me in my personal and professional development as I pursue my goals.”
After earning a BS in Communications from Lindenwood University in 2001, Linda earned an MA in Human Resources from Webster University in 2016 and a second MA from Webster in 2018, this time in Nonprofit Leadership.
This experienced professional has an extensive career as a volunteer and volunteer coordinator at 11 nonprofits, including Better Family Life, Concordance Academy, Korean Cultural Festival, Nine Network and the Pujols Foundation. In addition, she has been recognized for her volunteer service 10 times between 2007 and 2018.
Rose Miyatsu, MA, a Department Specialist/Writer for Washington University's Arts and Sciences Communications, earned her PhD in English in May 2019. Her dissertation focuses on 20th-century American novels, with a focus on disability studies.
“As a student aspiring for a career in non-profit communications and marketing , I greatly value the opportunities CSPRC provides me to network and learn more about the nonprofit agencies I plan to serve,” she said, “It also offers me a way to learn about different strategies for strengthening programing and marketing."
Rose has engaged in a variety of writing and editing projects, including 18 months as a paid blog writer for the University Libraries’ Special Collections. She also created a campus-wide marketing campaign to promote inter-university communication on graduate careers, and her strategy for this campaign is currently being adopted by other Universities. She has also taught Writing One as well as Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Since 2016 Rose has volunteered at Places for People preparing clients with mental illnesses for the HiSET exam. She recently began a newsletter for HavenHouse.
Rose is a martial artist with over ten years of experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, Toshi, and pet tortoise Chekov.
Lisa Naeger Shea is Marketing and Communications Manager of Catholic Charities of St. Louis, a COA and BBB accredited federation of eight 501(C)3 agencies, each with a distinct mission. Since March 2018, she has been responsible for the central office’s overall mar/com strategy and day-to-day operations, as well as supporting mar/com personnel at each of the eight agencies.
While working for 10 years in the cable broadband (Suddenlink) and data storage/security (TierPoint) sectors, she learned the value of professional peer organizations. “As soon as I transitioned to the nonprofit world, I wanted to seek out the relevant local support group,” said Lisa. “Everyone recommended CSPRC, and at my first lunch event, I was able to not only listen to a presenter who shared information relevant to my work, but also network with people who, like me, are taking on the unique challenges (and joys!) inherent to community service/nonprofit communications.”
After graduating from UM in 1989, Lisa taught preschool (Clayton Child Center, Jewish Hospital Employee Child Center) and kindergarten (St. Boniface), and managed an educational toy store (The MIND Construction) at the St. Louis Galleria before spending 14 years as a fulltime at-home parent, “manic volunteer and freelance writer and editor.”
Lisa currently serves as board president for Criminal Justice Ministry and is involved in organizations at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Oakville.
Cody Hinkle is Director of Marketing and Communications at Beverly Farms Foundation, a BBB Accredited Charity and a planned community in Godfrey, IL, that looks and feels like a neighborhood and provides a loving, caring home to 400 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
“We joined CSPRC as an organization member to network, as well as to take advantage of the educational series each month,” she said. “The topics that CSPRC chooses are all things that both our marketing and development departments find necessary and thought provoking.”
After graduating from SIU Edwardsville in 2002, Cody worked for Liberty Bank, Bau Funeral Homes, and Madison County where she worked as Circuit Clerk. She then served as Operations Director/Marketing Coordinator from 2009-2014 before assuming her current responsibilities.
On a personal level, Cody is married to Chris Hinkle and has one son Memphis. She enjoys history, politics and volunteering for events and committees in the RiverBend area of Illinois.
Barrett Baebler, D. Mgt., Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management, has served as the Director of Nonprofit Management and Leadership programs at Webster University since 2012. “Today’s nonprofits face challenges requiring strong leaders with new skill sets. How does one acquire these skills? By actively participating in nonprofit professional organizations like CSPRC and by continuing their professional education,” said Dr. Baebler.
Dr. Baebler has been active in CSPRC for years. “CSPRC provides nonprofit professionals an opportunity to network and learn through great programmming and events. CSPRC members are also eligible for tuition discounts at Webster University.”
According to Dr. Baebler, nonprofits need professionals who can ensure the financial viability of the organization, address human resource management and operations, and deliver their mission. “Nonprofit leaders have to have the skills to balance the business-side with the mission-side of their organization,” he said, “At Webster University, we have expert faculty who teach these skills.”
Dr. Baebler serves as a consultant, and advisor to nonprofits focusing on capacity-building, financial management, strategic planning, and business plan development.
Dorothy Carlin founded her firm, Simply Strategy, 10 years ago when she wanted to move from a traditional agency to a research-driven, consulting business. Providing quantitative and qualitative research, strategic way-finding and project management, she feels fortunate to serve clients she truly cares for.
"Now we’re a four-woman team serving companies and organizations who impact the well-being of people and communities," Carlin says. "Non-profit professionals are more constrained than their for-profit peers yet just as quality-and brand-minded. I love the problem-solving and collaborative nature of my non-profit colleagues. The connections I have made through CSPRC have impacted my business—both by connecting me with potential clients and building relationships with other professionals with whom we’ve partnered. CSPRC offers a unique venue to collaborate with true professionals across the spectrum of organizations in St. Louis."