Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet the RTS Staff: Margie Thirlby

Margie (C) with RTS volunteer, Tony Ventrella (L) and former RTS Intern, Paige Schultz (R)

Introducing Margie Thirlby, Rebuilding Together Seattle's
Executive Director

Margie joined RTS in July 2008, after receiving an invitation to apply for the Director position through 20-year-volunteer (and former Board Member) Anne Quigg - and the rest is history...

Let's hear from Margie!

1. How did you first hear about Rebuilding Together Seattle (RTS)?

I learned about RTS through a family friend, Anne Quigg, who had been volunteering with RTS for years. I first heard about RTS back in high school (when it was called Christmas in April) as many of the students (Holy Names Academy) volunteered with RTS and still do today.

2. Why do you like working at Rebuilding Together Seattle?

Margie with RTS Volunteers, Kyle Weeks (L) and Jeff Kasowski (R)

Anyone who knows me knows that I could spend over an hour answering this question (seriously) - so for everyone's sake I'll just name a few reasons (in no particular order):

1. RTS has the most incredible Staff and Board.
I consider our Board and Staff family. Everyone is kind, hardworking, funny, and beyond dedicated to our mission. We love working with each other and get along so well. I am inspired by the people I work with every day and consider myself so honored to know them!

2. There is never a dull moment at RTS.
In a typical day, I'll talk to a homeowner, go on a site preview, meet with a new sponsor group, write a grant proposal, work on our Facebook page, and go to a Committee meeting. Every day at RTS is an adventure, and I truly believe it's what keeps me coming to work each day.

3. RTS continually demonstrates the goodness of humanity.
This provides me with a high level of optimism and happy spirit as I navigate through my job (and life in general). Each time I speak with a donor or volunteer, I am touched by his/her unselfishness, caring spirit, and commitment to making our community a better place to be. Showing up on a rebuilding day and watching 30+ smiling volunteers who have given up their day to help someone in need is about the happiest thing I've ever seen.

4. I love witnessing the "homeowner transformation."
When we meet our clients, they are often living in pretty difficult conditions and have lost a lot of hope. Watching their overall spirit change throughout the rebuilding day experience is incredible. It is the most rewarding thing to see their restored sense of faith, confidence, and dignity after their home has been transformed. When we talk about the "before and after" of a rebuilding day, this is what I think about the most.

3. Why do you believe in the mission of RTS?

Our new mission statement at RTS is the following: "RTS brings volunteers and communities together to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety, and independence." I love the concept of bringing people together to better the community that surrounds them, and helping those in need while doing so. At the end of the day, RTS is a win-win for ALL parties involved: the Sponsor/Donor, volunteers, our Staff and Board, the client, and the neighborhood the client lives in. In addition, I believe that having a warm and safe home is something everyone deserves.  Our vision is "A safe and healthy home for every person."

4. What has been your favorite memory so far with RTS?


There are too many to count!  One of my favorite memories was from my first Spring Rebuilding Day (in April 2009) with a homeowner named Claudia, who was helped by volunteers from Honeywell.  Claudia had been battling cancer for a while, and was unable to make improvements at her home until Honeywell came to bat. After the rebuilding day, we received a letter from Claudia which continues to move me beyond words:

I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know how much all the hard work, attention to detail, caring and commitment meant to me by everyone. During a difficult few years I have watched my home go into a sad state of disrepair and that caused me many hours of stress and worry not knowing if I would be able to stay in a home I so dearly love because of that. You all relieved all that worry through your giving, caring, hard work and thoughtfulness by stepping into a stranger’s home and giving your time and knowledge to make it better as if it were your own. Everywhere I look I see something so much better, improved and repaired. You don’t know how much that means to me. It has made my heart glad to know there are so many great people who give so much. I won’t forget them and I will be thankful every day I wake up in the home I love.
And with so much appreciation.

5. Tell us more about yourself - what do you like to do when you're not at work?

Margie's dog, Lucy (also a member of the RTS Staff)

My favorite thing to do is spend time outside, whether I'm going on a walk with my dog Lucy, going hiking in the Summer, touring the beautiful Seattle parks (Discovery Park is my absolute favorite), or reading a book on a lawn chair (with a glass of wine). I also am a huge sports fan (volleyball, football, basketball, and that order) and played volleyball for two years in college. There are few things that make me happier than going to a Seahawks game or watching an awesome basketball game or volleyball match. I also like to read, write, and workout, and am passionate about health and wellness. I love spending time with my family and friends.  Lastly, I've been known to watch a little (too much) of The Office and Chris Farley movies - Tommy Boy is my favorite movie of all time!

6. What are your hopes for RTS in years to come?

Margie with radio host, Terry Jaymes at 97.3 (listen to the full interview here!)

Like Sarah (our wonderful Director of Programs) mentioned in her Blog interview, my main hope is that RTS truly becomes a household name in Seattle. It is my dream that whenever a homeowner in our community says "my home is in need of repair and I am unable to improve it on my own" that someone always says "call Rebuilding Together Seattle!" RTS needs to be THE go-to free home repair organization in Seattle. We are really providing an incredible, cost effective service to our community (and nationwide) as the only housing agency that offers free (comprehensive) home repairs to low income homeowners in our area. People need to take advantage of our services and let their neighbors know about RTS!

Thank you, Margie, for all you do for Rebuilding Together Seattle!

 Margie with First Gentleman, Mike Gregoire (L), and John Lee (R, Director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs) on Spring Rebuilding Day 2012 (4-28-12)

1 comment:

  1. Darling, I just think that the article captured who you are, a smart, fun, dedicated and caring human being. As I would say, the whole package and Rebuilding Together Seattle is so lucky to have you as the leader of the teams.