In this ongoing feature, you’ll meet the Fellows who are contributing 1,000 hours over one year to a Los Angeles-area nonprofit organization. If something strikes you about the Fellow’s experience or it reminds you of someone you know, you may be interested to learn more about the Encore Fellowship Program here >>>
Q: What drew you to the Encore Fellows program?
Kathleen: My previous position ended abruptly, and I had no Plan B in place. When I started exploring a career change, I first was attracted to the possibility of working with CASA LA, which was looking for an Encore Fellow to work on a marketing plan. Their work with kids in foster care, training court appointed volunteers to work with the worst cases of abused and neglected kids, was something I wanted to support. I then started to investigate Encore to learn what it was all about. I was impressed.
Q: What organization are you working with and what excites/inspires you about them?
Kathleen: There are 30,000 foster kids in Los Angeles County, which not many people know or would normally think about. CASA LA volunteers go through extensive training and make a major time commitment to these kids. The staff supporting this work and raising money to engage and train more volunteers is fiercely dedicated. These are kids with no natural advocates or champions. CASA volunteers fill that role.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in your work with your host organization?
Kathleen: I’m doing research on advertising platforms, trying to find free or low-cost opportunities for CASA LA to have a sustained visibility on a very limited budget. This was something I never had to worry about as a former vice president of corporate communications in a Fortune 500 company. So it was a challenge that has turned into an education about the changing media landscape in the digital age.
Q: What was your first experience volunteering in your lifetime?
Kathleen: My Mother always encouraged us to give back in some way, and my first official give back was as a candy striper at one of the local hospitals when I was a teenager. I worked in the laundry room folding hospital gowns, sheets and towels – not quite what I had envisioned. There was a lesson in that too!
Q: What do you look forward to on the weekends?
Kathleen: Long walks with my dogs, reading a good book and spending time with friends.
More About Kathleen
As Vice President for Communications and Government Relations at Loyola Marymount University for 10 years, Kathleen Flanagan managed external communications including media relations, alumni and development communications, marketing, digital communications and government relations. She now uses that experience working with CASA LA as an Encore Fellow.
Her other career experience includes vice president of marketing and business development for Global Window Partners and vice president of corporate communications for San Diego Gas & Electric.
Kathleen has extensive experience in media relations, government affairs, public relations and marketing, including development and execution of brand campaigns and integrated public relations programs to enhance community events and charitable giving campaigns.
She and her teams won the PRSA Bronze Anvil Award for community relations programming; the American Advertising Federation Award for Top 10 Most Effective Ad Campaigns; and 17 national and District VII awards for communications excellence from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
Kathleen has a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She earned her MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.