Keroack visiting her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Photo by Mary Keroack
BOSTON – It takes many people all over the country to fight cancer, including marketing departments and fundraisers, whose leaders now know it’s important to reach potential donors online.
Marblehead, Massachusetts native, Mary Keroack, 26, recently landed her dream job in Boston at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is a senior development assistant on the Corporate and Foundation Relations Team in the Division of Development, which raises funds for the institute.
“In addition to assisting the assistant vice president of corporate and foundation relations with scheduling, planning, organizing, prospecting, and tracking,” Keroack said. “I also have fundraising projects for specific programs at Dana-Farber, as well as team-specific projects to make our day-to-day operations more efficient.”
Keroack said online communication is beneficial when fundraising. “We are able to reach a larger audience through the internet and communicate with those people via technology,” said Keroack, who enjoys being part of the fight against cancer.
“The most rewarding part of my job is that I’m part of a large group of people all working toward the common goal of helping researchers and programs fight and eliminate cancer,” she said. “Once people hear where I work, many people recognize how wonderful Dana-Farber is, and some are even grateful to Dana-Farber because they, or a loved one, were treated well there.”
Keroack discovered her love for fundraising while running the Boston Marathon. “Around the same time I ran the Boston Marathon and solicited over 200 individuals through personal emails, I found my love for the fundraising process, as well as the feeling I got knowing I was helping raise funds for people who needed medical assistance. That led me to switch my career path from one in marketing to one in development (fundraising).”
Keroack’s close friend and passionate volunteer, Mary Beth Finn, said Keroack is dedicated to her work. “Mary is a reliable employee,” she said. “She dedicates herself in any situation and puts forth her best effort. I am happy that she found a job that she loves at Dana-Farber and is able to help people along the way.”
Keroack offers five tips to marketing industry professionals and fundraisers.
1. “Always be thinking of how others could perceive you or your words,” she said. “We live in a sensitive time, and even something unintentional can have major consequences.”
2. “If you’re getting stressed, take a walk. Especially with creative jobs, our brains can get tied up in pretzels, and sometimes you just need five minutes to clear your head.”
3. “Remember to learn from your mistakes, but (don’t) be too hard on yourself in the process.”
4. “Pay attention to your competitors. See what your competition is doing, and maybe you can learn something, or a new idea could emerge.”
5. “Be funny. The world can be very serious. If there’s an appropriate time to incorporate appropriate humor, do it. Even if a higher up manager rejects it, they will see your willingness to take risks.”
Keroack fell in love with marketing during her first job after college at a start-up company called Swirl. “It was the perfect transition from college, because I was given a lot of responsibility,” she said. “The relaxed atmosphere of a start-up was fun, and there was always some new problem to tackle every day. In terms of what I was looking for out of my career, I knew that I wanted to be in Boston, and at the time, I wanted to pursue marketing.”
Keroack attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she also played on the girl’s soccer team. She learned to balance her studies, team and social life and become productive at work, completing tasks on time.
She studied English with a concentration in creative writing and visual and media studies. “I wasn’t actually sure what I wanted to do after graduating, but landing my first job at Swirl led me to the world of marketing.”