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Get to Know Accordant’s President: Pamela Ronka Maroulis, CFRE

Pam Maroulis, CFRE, serves as president of Accordant. Recently, Pam leaned in for a conversation with Accordant’s CEO, Betsy Chapin Taylor, FAHP, about her passions and motivations around this work and shared insights into her personal life:

Betsy: Your experience, leadership and values make you a perfect fit to serve as president of Accordant. Why do you feel so strongly and passionately about health care philanthropy?

Pam: Education and health have always been two causes I have embraced both personally and professionally. I believe both are rights all humans should have access to and enjoy. My passion for health care was sparked when my maternal grandmother was dying of ovarian cancer. The nurses and staff on the oncology unit at her hospital made us feel like we were their only concern. Yet, I knew they had many other patients. The compassion shown to us, and the care given to her, made me want to say thank you; and I did through a letter to them after she passed away. I realized my philanthropy expertise positioned me to help more health care workers, and I never looked back. Now, and especially over the past two years, it is more important than ever to support the health care industry and those who deliver care every day in our communities.

Betsy: Tell us how you got started and the path that led you to Accordant.

Pam: I was one of those rare people who knew I wanted to do development work right out of college.

As president of my sorority, I was frequently exposed to philanthropic activities. I was also a student employee at the university’s athletic ticket office where I was introduced to staff who raised money for athletics. I was hooked. I knew I wanted to incorporate my love for people and my leadership aspirations through a job in development. I started as director of development in a one-person shop at Augusta Preparatory Day School (Augusta, GA). The headmaster took a gamble on me as a new grad, and I worked hard so he would never regret it. I was fortunate to be mentored by the retiring director, who has remained a lifelong friend. My love for campaigns and major gift work developed at Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. I transferred to health care philanthropy as the director of development with the School of Nursing & Health Studies at Georgetown University where I experienced a hybrid role of university development coupled with academic medical center priorities. That experience led me to a decade with Inova Health System. My final role before entering consulting was the vice president of philanthropy at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Each role helped me learn in new and different ways and provided tremendous experiences and mentors.

Betsy: Did you have any ah-ha moments?

Pam: At Baylor, I was asked, “How do you explain what you do to people who don’t understand philanthropy?” After some thought, I realized I was a connector. I realized philanthropy work was about connecting donors to causes they care about and allowing them to share their gratitude in meaningful ways. I have always believed people don’t give to an organization; people give through an organization to make an impact that often reaches the entire community.

Betsy: What makes you most excited about this new role with Accordant?

Pam: Being in this role allows you, as CEO, to assume more high-level initiatives while I oversee more of the day-to-day operations. Your leadership and strategic focus have made Accordant successful, and we have continued to grow, even throughout the pandemic. Having a president will allow you to return to more of what you love in thought leadership and strategy. I’m excited to continue the support and structure that helps facilitate the great work our amazing consultants do every day to elevate our client’s work.

Betsy: What are your personal passions? Who is Pam when you are not working?

Pam: I love gardening and making my yard pretty. I’m a basketball mom and spend a lot of time watching my daughter, Katherine, play basketball. I’m often in a gym or hearing a ball being dribbled at my house.

I am a huge fan of the University of Tennessee and try to make several games a year no matter the sport, but I love football and still have season tickets. I even have a cat named Knox (for Knoxville). Because I like structure and am often called a rule follower, I like things tidy and in their places. I’m a news junkie. I enjoy reading. I love eating out and breaking bread with family and friends. It’s been a real treat to re- engage since the pandemic kept us away from loved ones. My faith is very strong, and I believe there is a reason for all the places we end up. I practice what I preach with gratitude and feel very blessed to have been given the opportunities I have had thus far.

Betsy: How would others describe you?

Pam: Well, I have been told I could talk to a glass of water if it could talk back. So, I like to talk, to learn about people and to build authentic relationships.

Friends often joke that I need to let them know when I’m ready to leave an event so they can allow 20 more minutes for my “goodbye tour.” Apparently, I like to finish what I start. I feel others see that what I have always loved about work are the people I work with and building relationships with those people. Relationships and authenticity are among my top values.

Betsy: What do you think makes being part of the Accordant team so special?

Pam: Where do I start? I consider myself so lucky to be part of the Accordant team. My colleagues are so wicked smart. There is so much experience on this team. They had been in the field for decades before even joining Accordant. We are all continuous students, constantly studying the industry, learning trends that will elevate the work of our clients. We are always anticipating what’s around the corner and innovating to meet the needs of our partner organizations. Despite none of us living in the same city, we are not only colleagues but we are also friends who support each other like family...and it is truly a family. Clients have made mention of this when they see us working together. That speaks volumes to what this team really means to each other and to clients.

Betsy: I’m thrilled to have you continue your work with Accordant in roles as president and principal consultant.

Pam: I could not be more excited about this new role with this incredible group of teammates and clients. I will strive to do whatever I can to make our work meaningful, inspirational, successful and fun and to enable our clients to achieve their vision of potential.

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The Accordant Team has published a number of books to advance the efforts of health care philanthropy and help development leaders everywhere. 

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Accordant is honored to collaborate with American Hospital Association Trustee Services to provide issue papers, templates and webinars to support the involvement of healthcare trustees and foundation board members in advancing philanthropy. These resources can also be found on the AHA Trustee website.

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