This March marked one year since Maggie Hamberis, Director of Partnerships, joined the Period Education Project (PEP). Over the past year, PEP’s partnerships have grown significantly–adding 15 new medical school partners, hosting 32 PEP rallies, and deepening pre-existing relationships. As PEP’s very first Director of Partnerships, Maggie has played an essential role in this growth.
At its core, Maggie’s work focuses on building relationships, with community partners and with medical schools. On the medical school side, she connects with medical schools or medical students to identify passionate leaders who want to form a “PEP Squad” to work in their school’s community and beyond.
Successful recruitment of medical schools is one of her proudest accomplishments from her first year at PEP: “We exceeded my personal goal and the goal set by our team so much that we’ve decided to kind of slow down the recruiting process,” she said. “That’s partly due to just great connections from our team and also awesome med students raising their hand and saying ‘I want to be a part of this.’”
Making connections with community organizations often starts off with a cold call or an email from Maggie to organizations serving youth, oftentimes afterschool programs or organizations like Girls, Inc.
Once she is able to make a connection, she pitches PEP and our mission: “You really need to sell yourself to certain organizations who don’t trust what you’re going to come in and talk about or maybe don’t trust the background of your information. So answering a lot of questions about how we develop the curriculum, about our founders, about what we’re going to stay focused on, about the benefits to the community…”
These conversations are some of the rewarding parts of her role. “When I’ve been working hard to get in touch with an organization that I just know would benefit from this and would love it, and when I finally get to schedule a call with them, I’m so revved up to get on the phone,” she said. “I just know…in my heart, it’s going to go well, and they’re gonna be excited about it. So those calls that you kind of work harder and longer for are what gets me excited.”
Maggie doesn’t just want to reach as many community partners as possible, she also wants to deepen and strengthen relationships that PEP has already established. Girls Inc. of Worcester was one of PEP’s first community partners. Now, PEP is connected to the Girls Inc. affiliates all over the country, as well as their national leadership. Over half of all PEP rallies hosted in the last year were with Girls Inc. affiliates–a testament to the strength of the partnership with PEP.
“I’ve worked really hard to make sure that relationship is strengthened and sustained,” she said. “I’m proud of that because I haven’t lost touch with my contacts there. From that…it’s snowballed into more and more growth with them that I’m excited to see this coming year.”
Before joining PEP, Maggie worked for a software company. The transition was a leap of faith into a job she was passionate about. “I just wanted to do something more fulfilling and deal with things that I feel passionate about every day,” she said. “Even if it’s in a small capacity…I at least get to back something that I care a lot about…The conversations that I get to have every day are all about something I deeply care about and believe we need more of.”