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Get to Know: Holly Rutter, Programming Co-Chair

How long have you been in fundraising?

As a career, I’ve been involved in fundraising since Fall of 2017. A great mentor of mine shared with me for many years the excitement of fundraising and encouraged me to explore development work. It wasn’t until 2017 that I finally listened….and here I am!

When did you join AFP?

I joined the AFP Northeastern WI Chapter in 2017. This professional group has been really beneficial with enriching my development career and networking with individuals from a variety of backgrounds, organizations and communities.

Have you ever worked in another field (e.g. marketing, sales, finance, etc.)?

I’ve worn a couple different hats prior to working in this field. Just out of college, my career started with learning a lot about refrigerated dairy products (primarily cheese) and the food service industry. I worked with customers around the country to educate them and sell this Wisconsin staple.

After about 5 years in a sales and account management role, my marketing and public relations degree took me to the Fox Cities P.A.C. where I was fully involved in projects ranging from community engagement to public relations and marketing for world class shows brought to life in our community. During this time, I became a mom and followed a quest for a career change and found my footing in non-profit fundraising and development work.

What superhero skill/trait would you pick?

I would pick the superhero skill of healing. I don’t like seeing friends, family, coworkers – or anyone – in pain. Whether its emotional or physical pain, I would love to be able to have the power to heal and remove those burdens for anyone.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

One of the best vacations that I’ve taken was with my husband when we were newly dating and headed “north of the tension line” to explore Washington Island. We packed our backpacks, ditched our car at the ferry dock and took our bikes and bare essentials to the island. We camped, hiked, explored and fell in love with the simple beauty and treasure of the island over 4 days. Since this trip over 10 years ago, visiting the island continues to be an annual getaway. We’ve gotten to know the community and hope to one day have a little piece of “home away from home” there.

What are you most passionate about?

I feel passionate about a lot of things – including the work I get the opportunity to be a part of every day. Topping my list is the family and close friends that I’m blessed to have by my side. They encourage me daily, love me when times are tough, and celebrate some of life’s biggest moments. I especially love seeing the world through my toddler’s eyes and experiencing the joy he brings to our family and everyone he encounters daily.

Share two truths and a lie about yourself…

a. I’ve successfully completed a firewalk of varying sizes, three different times.

b. I have a twin sister.

c. I grew up on a 40 acre maple syrup farm in Northern Wisconsin, which our family still operates today.

What book do you always recommend to others?

For the last couple of years the majority of reading is children’s books with our son. All the Llama Llama books and “Love You Forever” seem to top the list! However, a book I’ve come back to on many occasions is one that’s been around for quite a while – “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff.” by Richard Carlson.

It’s easy for me to let little things grow into bigger things, and many times throughout my personal and professional life this book has reminded me of the bigger picture and brought my focus back to a more intentional and peaceful focus.

What is something that may surprise people to know about you?

I really enjoy music! Through my entire childhood I played a variety of instruments ranging from piano to the bassoon! I even had the opportunity to lead our high school marching band as Drum Major for 3 years. Music is something that brings me a lot of joy! A couple years ago I purchased an older and yet beautiful upright acoustic piano. I’ve been able to get back into music and share this joy with our young son. I’m also part of our church praise band as keys player & vocalist.


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