Flock Talk with Stepheny Petitte

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Recently, we sat down with Stepheny Petitte, Director of Engagement at Generosity.org for our Flock Talk series. She discussed her role at Generosity, what makes her happy, and her passion for helping others.

What made you seek a career in philanthropy?
Growing up, I always had a curiosity and love of culture, travel and global issues. I also loved politics, so my vision was to combine those and work within diplomacy (or a travel magazine but I figured diplomacy was a little more realistic!!)

While studying for my politics degree, I had the opportunity to take a class that incorporated a trip to Washington, D.C. for a conference hosted by a non-profit. Over the course of the weekend, we were exposed to shocking statistics and educated on various global issues. It was an overwhelming amount to take in just 48 hours. Yet, it wasn’t paralyzing. It wasn’t paralyzing because alongside the statistics, this non-profit shared the incredible impact it had over the past year both on a macro and micro-level, sharing stories of systematic change and transformation within individual lives. The organization went even further to share its bold, yet calculated, vision for making an even bigger impact the following year.

That weekend made me realize it isn’t an audacious dream for these global issues to end and that’s why I love working with Generosity.org — this organization dreams big. We want to see the clean water crisis end in our lifetime and I wholeheartedly believe that is possible.

Could you explain the work that you do at Generosity?
Generosity.org was founded in 2008 with a clear and simple mission: to see every person with access to clean water, for life. As a 501©3 humanitarian organization, our goal is to unleash a movement of generosity and harness its power to end the clean water crisis. Since 2008, we have funded 732 water projects in 19 countries, serving more than 440,000 with access to clean water.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I can honestly say there isn’t a typical day in the Generosity.org office (apart from multiple cups of coffee!) We’re a small team, which makes for a great working environment and also means we all wear multiple hats! As Director of Engagement, I lead our fundraising department and keep our Generosity.org community connected to our work on the ground.

What makes you most happy?
One of my absolute favorite parts of my job is the opportunity to show our donors the exact community they’ve supported. I get most excited by the times I’m able to personally deliver our well reports and see the reaction when donors first open their report and see the photos of their well and read messages from community members. There’s nothing like it — tangibly showing the joy water and generosity can give!!

What is one product created by a conscious brand that you can’t go without?
That’s a really hard question! I love that brands and consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned about ethical sourcing and production. There are a number of brands that I love.

There’s a really great handmade jewelry company from my native Tennessee called Consider the Wldfwrs. I literally wear their earrings every day. And finally, you’ll always find some Justin’s almond or peanut butter in my kitchen. It’s so good!!

When did you develop a passion for helping others?
My parents had a jar they would leave on our kitchen table called the ‘heart fund.’ It was a jar my parents, sisters and I could drop our spare change in, if and whenever we wanted. Then, every month as a family we would decide where we would donate the money or how we could use it to help someone. I’ll admit, there were moments my pre-teen and teenager self thought it was cheesy and embarrassing. But now I see how the act of deciding, as a family, where we would donate the money made my sisters and I aware of the needs around us and modelled generosity.

How do you spend your time relaxing?
I love walking and exploring new parts of LA. There are so many great pockets in this city and I love finding new coffee spots or neighborhood shops. Also, one of the best things about living in LA is the access to so many great beaches! Any Saturday spent by the beach is a relaxing day, well spent for me!

What’s your favorite place to travel to?
By far the hardest question! I don’t know if I can pick just one favorite, but Thailand is definitely high on the list of my favorite places. I was awestruck by the beauty of the country, the culture of gentleness and gracious hospitality, and not to mention the food is incredible! I also lived in England for five years, so London will always hold a special place in my heart as my favorite city!

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