Last year, I blogged about things I had learned from a variety of bosses. In many ways, these people also comprise a portion of my list of People I Admire. I should’ve included Virginia McDowell, president and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Every day she shows us that we can do our jobs well and still do good for our communities. With a little inspiration from her and an old co-worker, Sarah Wayson, I became involved with a fantastic organization called Connections to Success.
Connections asked me to sit on the committee for a first-time event spotlighting successful women in our community. I wanted to honor one of the women I work with and discovered the amazing spirit of one of our auditors, Mary Britsch.
An auditor by day, Mary is an animal lover around the clock and has been using this passion for more than 20 years to assist with animal rescue across the country. While her first volunteer position was walking dogs and helping socialize them at a local animal shelter, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in 2005, Mary drove to New Orleans and returned home with 14 homeless animals, one of which she fostered until a new home was found for it. She also helped reunite pets with their owners following the hurricane, and one of those reunions was featured in filmmaker Geralyn Pezanoski’s award-winning documentary “Mine.” The film premiered at the South by Southwest® film festival in 2009 and received the audience choice award for a documentary. Since she started volunteering, Mary has provided immediate to long-term foster care for five dogs and overnight/short-term care for dozens of others. For the past seven years, she has been part of the “rescue railroad”, transporting hundreds of dogs from bad situations to rescue, or from rescue to adoptive homes in another part of the country. Mary also works with rescues around the country to screen potential adopters in the St. Louis area. She was on the board of directors for Metro East Humane Society for several years, serving as treasurer for two years.
Thanks to Elissa Plastino for writing this great bio on Mary. We’ll be sitting in the audience tomorrow proud to be co-workers with Mary.
Here is a great interview with filmmaker Geralyn Pezanoski in case you’re interested.
Also, check out Connections to Success and try to join the cause. They’re doing some great work.