This inspiring story is a part of our 80 Stories, 80 Days campaign. For every story we collect through this campaign, Unique Connect will make a donation directly to our organization, so please submit your story now.
Written by Ann Zimmerman:
I’m a sucker for Starbucks. Knowing Executive Director Deb Wiebrecht for 10 years, as a neighbor and friend and through various nonprofit and volunteer roles, I’m never surprised by her enthusiastic calls. When the invitation came for coffee, I looked forward to hearing about her new adventure.
Deb had been approached by the Board of Variety-KC to become the Executive Director. This would be the first time they had a full-time person in that position and they were eager to grow the organization. She had accepted the position and was now looking for advice on where to start with her new role.
A background in nonprofit management consulting, governance and marketing naturally led to my first questions. “What is Variety-KC?” and “Who is on the Board?” As I watched Deb light up explaining the mission and background of Variety, it was obvious she already had an immediate connection and passion for Variety’s vision to help children with mobility needs. She was also inspired by the Board that had a vision for growing their mission, and she shared their frustration of the lack of brand identity.
Our conversation focused on those two areas, building awareness and branding Variety-KC in our community and expanding the role of the board and volunteers. Deb’s natural enthusiasm and great communication skills were already at work as she brainstormed plans to leverage social media channels and revive the Variety Show signature event. She also had a fledgling idea to build a new Young Variety group that would capitalize on the time and enthusiasm of young professionals and engage them in Variety’s mission.
It is thrilling today, 3 short years later, to see the enormous strides Variety-KC has made in building their brand, growing their volunteer base, engaging the community and most importantly serving more children and families. The Young Variety group is a model for engaging rising philanthropists and the Variety Show has already become an integral event in the nonprofit community. I am confident that the next 80 years will be even more exciting for this rising star…Variety-KC.
Through our 80 Stories, 80 Days campaign, we are asking all of you who have been touched by our organization in any way to share your story and help us gain more support for Kansas City children with developmental disabilities.