Welcome Monica Ramsey, Pomegranate’s New Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships
As Pomegranate Center continues to grow, in both size and vision, we’re excited to welcome our newest team member, Monica Ramsey. Monica has had a long and storied career in both nonprofits and for-profits, but along the way, building and strengthening community has always been the core of her work.
Could you share with the Pomegranate community a bit of your professional journey and how it led you here?
I began my journey in the nonprofit world at KEXP. I was recruited by an employee there to be their first Director of Development despite the fact I had only a marketing background. I found out that development and marketing are “kissing cousins,” similar but very different at the same time. At KEXP, I learned how to raise awareness for a mission and organization, how important relevancy is in messaging and fundraising, and that local organizations can have a national impact if they are unique in their product and services.
I loved working in the world of public broadcasting and was excited when I was recruited by KCTS9 to try my hand with the television side of public broadcasting. It was there I learned how to distinguish and communicate with different audiences, the different stratums of development (from individual givers to planned giving), and found out that the most important part of raising money was a good marketing strategy: telling stories that were interesting, heartfelt and always evolving.
From KCTS I went to work for the City of Seattle at the Seattle Center to help design and promote the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair. Although the recession hit the campaign hard, it was a wonderful learning opportunity on how to raise awareness and transfer enthusiasm for a comprehensive program and public project.
After the Seattle Center, I went back into the for-profit world and built a software company with my now husband. After getting the product into beta testing I decided to work as a non-profit consultant. I was recruited once again to manage a not-for-profit, a state funded long-term residential rehabilitation center where addicts and their children lived. This was a very eye-opening experience and made me understand the importance of community in regards to the health of individuals. The clients that left our program and stayed sober all had one thing in common. A community where they were recognized, valued and supported.
When I decided to go back to work after taking two years off to travel and write a book, I wanted to work with an organization that focused on community. Since I am also very politically active, I wanted a job that also focused on the rights and responsibilities of individuals living and working together for a common goal: a healthy, vital democracy. In some ways this took me full circle as a free media is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Merging both passions narrowed down my job search considerably. I then discovered the Pomegranate Center was looking for someone to help them take the next step of their journey in the areas of Communications and Fund Development. It was as if the job was made especially for me and my passion of place, community, citizenship and how they all relate to a healthy, vibrant, peaceful society.
How do you define “community” and why is it important for it to be at the forefront of Pomegranate’s work?
Community is the essential core to the human experience and civilization. It is by seeing ourselves in others that we truly know ourselves. A person who is perpetually alone cannot expand their concept of the “other” and therefore, cannot truly understand the “self.” It is in community that we define what we feel is important. How we treat others in our sphere is how we create moral codes and define our culture. What our community looks like, physically, also defines us. Just look at the great art and place-making of antiquity. When we travel into the glory of the past, most often we discover where we came from the ruins of community dwellings and public spaces, as well as the art that is associated with these places. And in return it is in art and place-making that what we foster today will decide what our futures will look like.
The Pomegranate Center has encapsulated this knowledge of past and future and has created spaces that express and celebrate the best of being human. This dialogue, training, and place-making encourages people who live in close proximity to relate to one another and to tolerate and appreciate the differences that each person, group, or culture brings to the community.
This tolerance and appreciation is also the foundation for healthy governance and everyday democracy. If we cannot find a way to live and communicate freely with one another, we cannot govern as a whole.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships?
I am super charged by the mission of this organization and its relevancy. Every day we are bombarded with negative examples of governance gone wrong, the splintering of families, communities and affinity groups. The training, philosophy and hands-on approach of the Pomegranate Center offers definitive solutions, not just hopeful rhetoric. For over thirty years Milenko and his supporters have developed a strategic, poetic and practical method for creating cohesive, expressive dialogue and solutions.
And right now, the world needs to know how to accomplish these things like never before. A lexicon and method that finds the “similar” instead of the “different” is essential for people to continue thriving and to find powerful and immediate solutions to the many problems our divisiveness has produced.
What is your superpower?
My kids. Whenever I think I’ve had enough and I just want to eat ice cream and watch the Hallmark Channel, I think of what my children and their kids are most likely going to endure. I believe we are at a crux in human history. With climate change, nationalism, religious extremism, and pessimism becoming daily concerns, not to get up every day and do everything possible in my power to help make the world a better place would be a personal failure. I watch our young people strive to shoulder the burdens past generations have placed on their very capable, determined yet fragile futures and I want to be part of the solution.