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Purposeful Conversation – Whitney Eikmeier

Dogpaw Studio founder, Chijo Takeda, started the Purposeful Conversation Series with the goal of speaking to nonprofit leaders about their goals, passions, and roadblocks in carrying out their purposeful missions. He hopes to give back to the nonprofit community with insights and resources to help them elevate their organizations based on the knowledge gained.

Here is the recording and transcript of Purposeful Conversation #108 with Whitney Eikmeier.

Whitney

My name is Whitney Eikmeier and I work for the American Cancer Society. I am our senior corporate relations manager for our area, which is Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Chijo

In the work that you do, thinking about it in your mind, what gets you up in the morning?

Whitney

What gets me up every morning is knowing that the work that we do here at the American Cancer Society is making a direct impact in our community. I lost my mom to cancer at a really young age. And at the time I was very young like I said, and so I didn't know the services and the programs that were available to my mom and to myself. So to know that the work that we're doing here in the work that I do on a day-to-day basis is making a direct impact on cancer patients and their families is what gets me up in the morning.

Chijo

The next question is if budget or money or financial criteria were not an issue, and I would be able to give you this magic wand and kind of put it through Zoom and give it to you. You can wave it and have some kind of epic goal accomplished for your organization, just like that. What would that be?

Whitney

If I had a magic wand and had all of the financial opportunities at my fingertips, I would help create a hope lodge here in our Portland, Oregon area. A hope lodge is, we have several of them across the country here at the American catch society. And they're essentially housing for cancer patients and their families when they're traveling long distances for treatments. Most people don't realize treatment can be several weeks, sometimes several months at a time. And if you don't live in an area that has the care that you need the expense that comes along long distance and long time stay is tremendous. So to be able to offer that as a resource to our community is wonderful. Although we have several across the country, we do not have one here in Oregon. And I know we, as a community would greatly benefit from having a hope lodge here for many reasons, but definitely due to OHSU being right here in Portland, the Knight Cancer Institute.

Chijo

So now I hate, I really hate to do this, but I'm gonna take back the magic wand. Because unfortunately I don't have that kind of superpower but now that you're excited about this and getting it done, and let's say you are going to task your team or a subset of your team to actually get this done. Now, what would you need or what would be the major roadblocks to accomplishing this?

Whitney

Major roadblocks for us at the American Cancer Society for creating a hope lodge here in Portland, Oregon, of course, are the financial barriers. So creating a budget, a specific budget for what that would look like, and then recruiting the proper sponsors and donors and corporate opportunities in our area to make that happen. And so, knowing exactly what the budget is for creating a hope lodge would be step one, and step two would just be going out in the community and making that happen.

Whitney

If you're interested in learning more about the American Cancer Society and learning more about opportunities, like ways to get a hope lodge here in Portland, Oregon, you can reach out to me directly. My name's Whitney Eikmeier. My email address is whitney.eikmeier@cancer.org. Or you call me. My direct line is (503) 915-9635. Hope to hear from you guys.