Ann Berger’s mentor Maureen Patterson gave her advice years ago that she now passes on to business women today: volunteer for a nonprofit.
You’ll surely make connections in the business world, but how you’ll grow as a person is the real prize, Berger said.
“You get even more by giving” she said. “The reward that you get from just helping out an organization is just priceless.”
After attending a similar event in the Cincinnati area, Berger launched Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Miami Valley Region’s Doors of Compassion.
The event, which recently celebrated its seventh year, has elite Dayton area chefs prepare meals in private homes.
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That first year, Berger told Ronald McDonald House the event would raise $50,000. Last year’s Doors of Compassion event raised $100,000. It is not yet clear how much the 2017 Doors of Compassion raised for Ronald McDonald House.
Berger said she is drawn to the charity because of its mission to “provide a home-away-from-home to families of critically ill and injured hospitalized babies and children.”
“I like a charity that really benefits children especially something that benefits sick children,” The Trotwood-Madison High School graduate said.
Berger also volunteers with YWCA and the March of Dimes.
Below we catch up with Berger, our latest Daytonian of the Week.
She was nominated by Karen Dempsey Volke, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Miami Valley Region’s chief development officer.
What do you do?
I wanted to work for an entrepreneur and use my relationships and experiences to help grow their business. I came onboard with CommuterAds in 2011 after leaving the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and saw so much potential for this company that I came to them and said I will be working for you on day, and I did. I am the Senior Business Development Director at CommuterAds. I also work on the Doors of Compassion event to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
What’s one word you think people would use to describe you?
Answer: I have a nickname: Schmoozette because I like to meet lots of people and get to know them. I asked a couple friends about a word for me — here is what they said: nurturing, loyal, generous and loving. I like all these qualities!
What do you love about life in Dayton?
Less congested than in other major cities. You can get from point A to point B in about 20 minutes max! I also love the cost of living here. Being that Dayton is a smaller metro community, you can become engaged into the community easier. It's easier to find your passion and go with it. Whether it's hiking in one of the MetroParks, eating at local venues, going to see a Dragons game ( and get home in less than 20 minutes) or finding a charitable cause that appreciates your assistance.
Where do you go for a great time?
I love the Fraze and The Greene.
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What is the best advice you ever received?
My father once told me to start at the head and not at the rear in sales. Always start as high up in the organization when you can and try to reach the decision maker, and my mom taught me to never burn bridges with anyone because it may come back to bite you.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you would have taken when you started your career?
That I could be successful. I doubted myself when I was younger and my mom always encouraged me to keep trying. She was an entrepreneur and a bit of a feminist and I admire her for both.
What inspires you about Dayton?
Answers.The passion from so many community leaders in town and the changes going on here. I see the regrowth of downtown and I hear the optimism from committee leaders. I also get inspired from the friends I have here in town.
If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be?
Better shopping. I'm a shopaholic!
What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
I believe IT and tech will become even more important for development. I hope manufacturing continues here but I see it becoming more automated. I think downtown Dayton will continue to become more residential and shops and more restaurant will come back downtown. I also see a lot of new products being developed here. Dayton is the home of innovation, and I see entrepreneurs thriving here.