Blog

Saying Farewell: JMF Staff Member Maggie Mestrich

The Joseph Maley Foundation is not just a nonprofit – it is a family, and we hope that everyone who walks through our doors can feel the deep roots of acceptance and love that comes with a family such as ours. 

At JMF we have certainly had our share of great joys and sorrows, but feel blessed that we have experienced these together.  It will come as no surprise then that it can be very difficult when we must say goodbye. 

Maggie Mestrich, the Joseph Maley Foundation’s Director of Development for the past seven years, will be leaving JMF in 2020, to pursue a new position at the Carmel Swim Club.  While we are incredibly sad to see Maggie go, we are excited for her to begin this new journey and share her passion for serving others.

We have asked Maggie to answer a few questions so that she can properly share with our entire JMF family all that she has learned from her time with us, and what she will carry with her as she begins this new endeavor. 

Maggie will always be a beloved part of the JMF family, and we cannot wait to see her path unfold. 

– Executive Director and Co-Founder, Vivian Maley


Can you speak to your history at JMF? How you came to the Foundation, and how your role has progressed?

I joined the Joseph Maley Foundation staff as the Director of Development and Communications in 2012, after six years of full-time swim coaching. My husband had met Vivian, who shared with him that the Foundation was experiencing significant growth and wanted to add a staff person to take on development and fundraising initiatives. I had the famous cup of coffee with Vivian, and was thrilled at the opportunity to work in support of JMF’s mission, “serving children of ALL abilities.” My excitement and belief in our work in service of that mission has only grown. Over the years, my role progressed to focus on developing and nurturing relationships with our donors and supporters, and directing our staff that comprise the Development Team.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while working at JMF?

Vivian has given me, as she does all of our staff, the extraordinary and liberating freedom to fail. I am a type-A, people pleasing, toe the line person who came to the Joseph Maley Foundation afraid to misstep. JMF is an environment that fosters creativity and success by not being afraid to try new things, and I have learned to happily embrace those challenges, as opposed to shying away from them. 

What is your favorite JMF memory?

Those close to the Joseph Maley Foundation know that we embody a family-first workplace. I had the great joy of becoming a mother to two children during my time at JMF — my son Leo is 5 and my daughter Maisie is 1 — thus, my favorite JMF memories revolve around my kids being in the office and at events with me. Leo became adept at crawling in the kitchen of the Joseph Maley Enrichment Center and LOVES coming to the Run, Walk, Roll every year. Maisie came to work with me pretty consistently over her first year — the crib in my office was set up and ready for her long before the one at home! I loved being in my office, with her napping in the crib, while calling donors to say thank you for the impact their gifts had on the lives of central Indiana children. I want Leo and Maisie to be active participants in the accepting, loving, inclusive community that JMF programs work so hard to cultivate.

Finally, as you leave the Joseph Maley Foundation to begin a new journey at the Carmel Swim Club, will you share with us what your new role will be, and how the skills and knowledge you gleaned from your time at JMF, will transfer to this new position?

I’m returning to Carmel Swim Club, not in a coaching capacity this time, but to lead their fundraising efforts as they build a new pool to ensure more children have the opportunity to learn the essential, lifesaving skill of swimming. There is no way I would be able to step into this role without the skills and knowledge my time at JMF imparted. 

Working at JMF helped me find an inner poise that I doubted I possessed. One of my swim coaches from growing up, Mark Hesse, is a big fan of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. When I was coaching the High Performance Group at Carmel Swim Club, we took a group of athletes out to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs prior to the 2012 Olympic Trials. Mark gave a presentation to the Carmel swimmers about the Pyramid and asked the athletes to consider which block contained an attribute they embodied. He called me out on the poise block, and I vividly remember laughing out loud and thinking he was mistaken. BUT working at JMF has brought poise out in me I didn’t know was there: Vivian has put me in situations she was confident I would succeed in that I was unsure of, her steady, constant belief in me brought it out, and has prepared me to take on this next challenge. 

There is a yiddish word, beshert, which can be used to talk about soulmates or “meant to be” relationships. I believe my time at JMF was and will continue to be beshert. It is treasured, it is special, and it will be in my heart forever. I am honored to be part of the Joseph Maley Foundation family and look forward to supporting all that JMF does, in a new way, in the future.