Holy Cross College strives to form global citizens with the competence to see and the courage to act, instilling in students we can all change the world, make it a better place, and make a difference. Alumna Madelyn Martinec ’16 is using those values to make an impact on her local community and is currently the Director of Development at REAL Services in South Bend.
“Holy Cross College taught me the importance of making a difference locally. Although I had the opportunity to travel to Peru during my studies and that experience was incredible, Holy Cross College taught me that I don’t have to travel far to make a big impact,” notes Martinec. “I decided to stay in the South Bend area after graduation. I grew up in South Bend and wanted to continue to explore my community.”
Why social services
“During my four years at Holy Cross, every summer I interned in various roles at the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. Through these experiences, I was able to explore every aspect of the organization – working with the Board of Directors, strategic plans, budgeting, management, program development, communications, and fundraising. All of those things are necessary to run any business. However, I also had the opportunity to interact with those visiting the food pantry, conduct research about important community needs, and build programs around those needs. Every year, my internship had a completely different focus. By the time I graduated, I had an idea of what I wanted to do within a social service organization,” said Martinec.
Holy Cross impact
“My sophomore year, I served as the President of the Social Concerns Committee. This experience gave me the ability to work with incredible local organizations, but also allowed me to build my leadership skills. In my junior year, I served as the Vice President of the Student Philanthropy Council and served as President my senior year. Having these experiences allowed me to see how fund development and programming affect each other. I still use much of what I learned from both of these student-led clubs in my job today,” recalls Martinec.
Being part of the two student-led groups has served as a guide to how she works in her fundraising role.
“However, I think Holy Cross College’s experiences helped me take what I do every day to the next level. When interacting with donors, I don’t just see them as people giving away their money to an important cause. I see them as real change-makers in our community, and that money is just one avenue they can help. Because of my time with Student Philanthropy Council, although I still have monetary fundraising goals to reach, I know that philanthropy goes beyond money. It’s about giving your time, talent, and treasure,” said Martinec.
According to Martinec, Michael Griffin, Ph.D., taught her that your vocation is, “Your God-given gifts and talents developed into practical skills to meet the needs of the world.” She believes every person she interacts with personally and professionally has their own set of unique gifts, and when those gifts are shared, we truly can change the world.
“Although there isn’t one specific moment that stands out to me, there is a certain professor who created a lasting impact and that was Mr. Bob Williams, who taught Communications courses. Mr. Williams didn’t just teach textbook definitions and test students on obscure topics. Rather, he took a real-world approach to teaching and taught us about the business and communications world as it is rather than how a textbook thought it should be. I still use many of the important skills he taught me in my work to this day, such as don’t burn bridges with people because you never know when you’ll run into them again, show respect by being on time for meetings, and don’t bore people with long PowerPoint presentations. Sometimes, it’s the simplest lessons that get you the farthest in life,” notes Martinec.
“I am big on planning – I plan everything. Even my friends at Holy Cross knew my love for my Outlook calendar. But, in terms of my plans for the future, I am going to let God guide me through what He wants me to do. He hasn’t failed me so far. My hope is to continue my work in the non-profit social services sector through fund development positions. I also know that I will continue to be active and engaged in the South Bend/Mishawaka community and that wherever I end up, I will always use what I learned at Holy Cross,” said Martinec.