Talking GOOD with Jamie McDonald

I first met Jamie McDonald a bit more than a year ago, as she was preparing to launch her ambitious social enterprise, GiveCorps. For those of you outside Baltimore (and those in Baltimore who live under rocks), GiveCorps is building an online community of local citizen philanthropists -- people who have a passion for giving to area nonprofits, and in so doing, get to take advantage of local merchant rewards. Since GiveCorps is a business (it's actually a hybrid of the nonprofit GiveCorps Foundation and a for-profit website), I initially had reservations about featuring Jamie in this segment. However, upon reflection, I realized that one's dedication to mission and doing good is what lies at the heart of these interviews. In her own words: "...what makes us relevant is our mission to change the nature of philanthropy. We are working with nonprofits to teach them to value the impact of young supporters, and working with young people to understand that you don't have to be rich to be a philanthropist." In October, GiveCorps will be celebrating its one year anniversary with a get-together at Woodberry Kitchen in Hampden (click here if you want to attend). Congratulations on the major milestone!

Jamie's background is too rich with experience to list everything here. A few highlights: owner of Velocity Sports Performance, a business that she started in 2003, operated profitably for five years, and sold to a California-based entrepreneur in 2008; Managing Director at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, where she enjoyed a 16-year career; past co-chair of the Tocqueville Campaign ($10,000 gifts) for the United Way of Central Maryland; and national board member of the Keewaydin Foundation.

Thanks for answering the Talking GOOD questions Jamie.

1. IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?  Totally corny, but I consider my purpose in life to be an engaged parent, a strong partner to my husband, a good listener with my friends, a capable leader in my work, and a changemaker in my community.

2. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU “EXPIRE?” I’d like to spend a year traveling the world…and I wouldn’t rule out the Amazing Race as part of that. I love that show.

3. IF YOU COULD MEET WITH ANYONE (ALIVE), WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM? If I could meet anyone alive today, I’d meet Scott Harrison, founder of Charity:Water who is using branding, technology and marketing to make giving cool, in a way that has not been done before. But, deep down, I am most curious to meet my future grandchildren, although none are on the horizon.


5. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU, IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE? This was a hard one, so I surveyed my team. They thought Frances McDormand or Meryl Streep. Still, I've been told by people all my live that I resemble Candice Bergen.

6. WHAT IS A BELIEF THAT IS CORE TO YOUR BEING? Again, corny, but I believe that obstacles are opportunities for learning, and that there are few challenges in life that can’t be overcome with the right combination of talented people.

7. WHO ARE YOUR HEROES? Joe Jones, the CEO of the Center for Urban Families; Bob Killebrew, the senior executive at Alex Brown who took a chance by hiring me for my first job back in 1986 (and changed my life in the process); and the people I read about everyday who take action when it is needed.


9. TELL US SOMETHING SURPRISING ABOUT YOURSELF. I am a pretty small person, but I threw the shot-putt in high school. I was the first girl in my school – fourth grade - to take woodshop, instead of home ec (although I am a passionate home cook now!)

10. WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED? You asked great questions! Thanks for the opportunity to reflect.

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