Making An Impact

Communication is critical in my line of work. If you know me, you might think that’s just because I’m in marketing. But really, what career today can you succeed without the ability to communicate? Manufacturers, hair stylists, programmers, lawyers, bus drivers, doctors, educators, fast food workers, financial planners…I could go on. We often take for granted our ability to communicate, don’t we?

Being part of the board of the Orange Effect Foundation has given me the opportunity to reflect on the help I had along the way as I learned how to communicate growing up. I had:

  • Parents who believed in me and helped me thrive, despite my tendency to get “stuck” on words and talk at an alarming and often unintelligible rate of speed
  • Educators in school who taught, protected and nurtured me
  • Friends who encouraged me to put my thoughts into words, and helped me understand that communication comes in many forms
  • Managers and mentors who thrust me in a position to speak in public and helped boost my confidence


While my communication is hardly perfect, I wouldn’t be where I am today without intervention. Being a child of the 70s, we didn’t have IEPs. We didn’t have early diagnoses. Many kids were written off as troublemakers. Or even worse, as disabled, with a goal of mainstreaming never being an option.

I’m not comparing my story to the hundreds of stories we’ve seen in just a couple years at The Orange Effect Foundation by any means, as there are so many others with a greater need. We’ve seen children with autism, apraxia and speech disorders, and a common theme resonates: children and families today are desperate for a chance because they know it’s possible. But they need help. In many instances it’s a boost they need with speech therapy to help their child work toward joining his/her peers in a traditional classroom. In others, it is simply the hope that a specialized device could help their child communicate a single word, that could, God willing, lead to two words.

In reading some of the thank you notes from donor recipients’ parents over the past two years, the glimmer of hope in their eyes and in their hearts makes us choke up. When Maureen Stanton, our program manager, shares these letters of gratitude with our board members, it’s a collective “THIS is why we do this”.

We can’t thank you enough for helping us make a difference in the lives of these families. One family at a time, you are making an impact. We’d love to have you more involved. From corporate sponsorships to individual donations to golfers or golf outing raffle donations, we’re grateful for any and all help you can give.

Do it in honor of that parent, friend, coach, teacher or mentor that helped you become a better communicator.

Cathy is the Vice President of Marketing for the Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, where she oversees marketing efforts for the brand including in-person events Content Marketing World and Intelligent Content Conference, Content Marketing University, and quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer. Prior to joining CMI, Cathy managed social/community efforts for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, owned her own strategic marketing business focused on media and digital/social marketing for several international restaurant brands, and was media supervisor at Wyse Advertising in Cleveland. Cathy was named to Folio:’s 2014 Top Women in Media, and MarTechExec 2018 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech.
  1. Sue Harlan Reply

    You are, and always have been, an inspiration, Cathy!

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