When people think of marketing, what normally comes to mind is cut-throat, cold calling, and greed. But let’s not forget that even the nonprofits need marketing — if not more than your typical business. And the people behind them are far from the money-hungry corporate chumps in a suit and tie — stereotyped in countless TV shows (looking at you, “Mad Men”). Take, for example, Linda Calwell, the marketing director of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando. She is the face of the non-profit marketer we are referring to: compassionate, dedicated, and welcoming to all.
Catholic Schooling Meets Marketing
An Ohio transplant, Linda grew up going to Catholic school and has a history of marketing and public relations experience. Her education began at Kent State University, where she completed a journalism degree. She landed gigs at local publications and agencies, including being the managing editor at an automotive parts magazine, three PR stints at The University of Akron, and owning a freelance business for 20 years — all while raising two children. She combined her love for Catholicism and marketing when she joined the staff of The Florida Catholic in 2012 and became part of the Office of Catholic Schools in 2015.
Driven by Passion
Whether it’s writing about automotive parts or working with Catholic schools, Linda has always been driven by passion. She believes in every mission and has no problem walking away from what wasn’t for her. For instance, in college she took a job at a clothing store in a mall. When she went in for training, she was appalled when she realized how poorly-made the clothing was. She knew she couldn’t sell a product she didn’t support, so she walked out before she even started.
“My passion for Catholic education, the Diocese of Orlando, and other nonprofits is the deep belief of giving to others,” Linda said. “I firmly believe we are called to serve one another. It angers me when dollar signs are more important than the needs of those less fortunate.”
Now She Leads the Way
Clearly, hanging garments at the mall wasn’t Linda’s true calling; working with the Catholic church was. She always felt “safe, loved, and challenged” during her time as a student at a Catholic school. She wants others to experience the same joys and benefits as those who attend Catholic schools do. It’s the mission that motivates her: A Catholic education helps set the foundation for a person’s character. In fact, Linda credits her middle school English teacher for her current career, as her teacher encouraged Linda to pursue writing. During her time at Catholic school, she gained critical thinking skills and how to put others before herself. Her teachers and parents were her role models. “While religion classes, daily prayer, Mass, and other Liturgical celebrations grounded me in faith, the high standards, challenging curriculum, and the expectation of serving others encouraged me to go beyond what was expected,” she said.
And now, Linda herself gets to be a role model and shares the joys of attending a Catholic school. So what inspires her to get up, get going, and put the Catholic schools on the world’s radar? The children. “Still, it is the children — whether in our schools or not — who motivate me. Even in a time when organized religion may not be a top priority for younger parents, I know that a Catholic education offers so much more because of our faith and love of Jesus. I want all children to feel that love and to receive an education that is not based on standardized test scores, but rather, on becoming a well-rounded person, a contributing member of society, and a leader for all.”
If you’re a non-profit marketer like Linda, whose heart is in their work, we’re here for your marketing needs. Our team can create quality content geared toward your industry and audience. We can help you build on your mission by drawing in donations and calling for volunteers.