We are showcasing CMOs who use their time and talent to make a positive impact and highlight charities that have benefited from CMO expertise through participation in the CMO Club Cares Program. This time around, we highlight CMO Club member Jennifer Dominiquini, and her work as a board member at The Center for Pursuit.
CMO Club — Welcome. Can you tell us about The Center for Pursuit?
Jennifer Dominiquini — The Center of Pursuit serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities here in Houston. Adults with disabilities are often a group that is overlooked in our society. As these individuals live longer and longer, a lot of times they wind up out-living their families and all of a sudden there’s no one left to take care of them. Our mission is to provide a safe place, not only a place to live in, but making sure they have a job if they have the ability, have social activities, health and dental care as well.
CMO Club — When did you get involved?
Jennifer Dominiquini — I got involved about three-and-a-half years ago when a fellow board member David Baldwin was raising money for The Center, as it used to be called back then. It was in a financial crisis, and David committed to riding his bike across the country as part of a major fundraising effort. I rode 500 miles with David and other riders across the state of Wisconsin, which for me was a bucket list opportunity. Along the way, we were able to visit and connect with like-minded organizations, raising awareness, and getting ideas about how others were doing things to support those with disabilities. The Pursuit ride raised $13.5 million dollars (in just four months,) mobilizing an entire community of supporters.
On a personal note, my mom was a special-education teacher for many years. I was looking for a way to give back after she passed, so finding the same group of people my mother helped for all those years is pretty special to me. I fell in love with the clients at The Center and with their mission and organization right away. It’s been a wonderful opportunity, not only to get to know the people there but to see first-hand the goodwill in the city of Houston. Recently we rebranded The Center. It’s now called The Center of Pursuit.
CMO Club — They had some other challenges besides just funding, correct? Can you tell us about those?
Jennifer Dominiquini — When Hurricane Harvey hit, the organization was literally underwater. Five out of the six buildings were badly flooded. The property was already in need of a major upgrade, so we decided to rebuild the center from the ground-up and sell the original property. We are rebuilding in a new location, in a revitalizing neighborhood, and are now on a strong path forward, with a major rebrand behind us. We are definitely excited for the Center for Pursuit’s bright future.
CMO Club — Is there any one you met, a client that sticks with you?
Jennifer Dominiquini — There’s one client at The Center of Pursuit, Allison, who has become a great friend. Allison calls herself “The Mayor” has cerebral palsy. Whenever I see her, she comes up and hugs me and thanks me for everything we are doing. But all of the clients at the Center for Pursuit are amazing and inspire me every time I visit.
CMO Club — What has your involvement with The Center of Pursuit meant to you personally?
Jennifer Dominiquini — I feel like if I can give back a small part of myself, it makes me feel better about who I am as a human being. I feel like spending time volunteering and learning from others with different experiences have made me a better person. Sometimes when I think my life isn’t easy, I remember to embrace the world with positivity, like the clients at the Center for Pursuit do every day.
CMO Club — Has The CMO Club helped?
Jennifer Dominiquini — I think one of the things The CMO Club does well is to embrace the notion that purpose-driven marketing is really powerful. Being a part of The CMO Club has enabled me to get in touch with a lot of other purpose-driven marketers that I have learned a lot from. Marketing when it is about helping people and communities is the kind of marketing I love the best.