As of May 2023, Sojourner House has had the pleasure of welcoming Laura McCurdy to the team as our new Director of Advancement. Laura comes to Sojourner House with over 25 years of experience working with non-profit and mission-based organizations.
We recently sat down with Laura to hear about her role in her own words:
How did you first learn about Sojourner House?
I was aware of Sojourner House’s programs because I know someone that’s gone through the program.
What is your typical day like?
Right now, I’m in the information-gathering phase, but in my role, a typical day consists of meeting with key constituents and attending networking opportunities to bring more exposure to the organization. The goal is to foster relationships that will drive funds and help to support our programs.
What do you think will be most challenging about this position, and what you’re trying to accomplish?
I know some people would say breaking the barriers or the stigma around substance abuse disorder, but in my conversations in the last month, I’ve learned that people are excited about what we do. So I think the biggest challenge will be expanding our reach in the community and, even though we’ve been around for 30-plus years, establishing ourselves as the premier and innovative place to go for recovery services.
For instance, when looking at corporate partnerships and alliances, addiction and recovery is not something they often talk about. So it is important to connect with their leadership and HR teams. Because everyone knows someone that is in some stage of recovery, so it’s a matter of exploring how they can be involved in the movement. And the challenge is being able to get into those rooms to have those candid conversations.
What are you most excited about for this job?
I’m excited because there is such a community of support, from where we started to where we are today. So having that foundation also offers us an opportunity for long-term sustainability as well.
How would those closest to you describe you?
Passionate. A connector. In all my relationships, new or old, I’m always looking to see how I can connect people either to resources or connecting people together. And there is passion in everything that I do.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Well, it’s definitely not sitting back and reading a book. I’m very adventurous, whether it’s by doing outdoor activities from sports, spending time in nature, or with the arts. And always traveling.
We are always headed somewhere, but try to keep it balanced. Sometimes we’re headed to the beach, or we’re headed to Europe. But then we balance it out during the week, and we stick closer to home.
We have 4 grandchildren and we’re always at their sporting events, or taking them to the theater, or some other adventure. Our adult children ask to schedule time with us because we are always on the move.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t in fundraising?
I’ve been in non-profits for 25 plus years in different roles from the mission side of implementing programs to development, programs, leading teams, and grassroots fundraising. So that’s a tough one. There are some things that sound interesting, but I always come back to some sort of service to others.
Do you have a motto or personal mantra or just any word you try to live by?
“No day but today”. It is from the musical, RENT and it is how, for many reasons, I’ve lived my life.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
People. I can’t be without people.
So I know you said you like to travel a lot. What is a dream vacation you’re hoping to take?
I’m torn because we have been checking them off our bucket list but I would say, Bora Bora.
What was one of your favorite trips you’ve taken?
I’d have to say that Alaska’s National Parks and Greece were the best trips.
What else is on your bucket list?
The South Pole. There’s an educational cruise where you take classes during the day, and then you get to experience the research centers, the glaciers, and the snow of the South Pole.
Basically, if it says adventure, I’m up for it. I’ll try everything – except for anything related to snakes.