Member Program Highlight: MOCSA Welcomes Julie Donelon
Julie Donelon has said before that MOCSA is the only place that could have made her leave her previous job.
Donelon, MOCSA’s new president and CEO, came to MOCSA in January 2012 after serving for eight years as executive director of the Child Protection Center of Kansas City.
“I’ve always admired MOCSA’s work,” Donelon said. “MOCSA has a much broader scope of helping victims, which attracted me. I get to see the healing side here, where before, I only saw the trauma. Here, I get to witness and be a part of the healing.”
Donelon said she enjoys being a part of something so vital to the community, from the rape-crisis component of MOCSA’s work to the community education. But she said her favorite part about working for MOCSA so far is the people.
“Everyone I’ve met is just fantastic,” she said. “The professionalism, talent and commitment are really impressive.”
It’s no secret that Donelon had some big shoes to fill after former president and CEO Palle Rilinger retired in December after 27 years of service, but Donelon was ready and excited for the challenge.
“Palle is someone I’ve admired since I got into the field,” Donelon said. “She‘s legendary. I’m excited to build upon what she’s already created, and ensure that it is strengthened over time. It is a huge sense of responsibility because I respect her so much.”
One of the personal stories that struck a chord with Donelon after joining MOCSA was about a young woman in her 20s whom a MOCSA advocate met in the hospital after she reported being raped by an acquaintance. The woman had fallen on hard times and was without a job and a place of her own. When the MOCSA advocate gave her the contents of the Assault Survivor Kit provided by the Assistance League of Kansas City, the woman was overcome with gratitude. She admitted to the advocate that she had very little clothing, some of which had just been taken as evidence. She said thank you for each item as she pulled out the new clothes, socks, toothbrush and other toiletries.
“That was really eye-opening for me,” Donelon said. “I really don’t know what some people would do without MOCSA.”
When she’s not busy at work, Julie is an avid runner. She’s currently training to run a half-marathon in April, and enjoys daily jogs with her two labs, Attie and Scout, named after her favorite “To Kill a Mockingbird” characters. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and her family, including her two young nieces.
Learn more at www.mocsa.org.
(This article re-printed with approval from MOCSA Spring 2012 Newsletter)