Giving Her All So We Can All Give Back
December 22, 2017
In her 40 years at Maritz, Debbie Schirmer has carved out a niche for herself. And what a niche it is.
As community affairs director, Debbie is responsible for overseeing Maritz’ corporate responsibility, corporate giving and community involvement programs, making sure those efforts have the greatest possible effect on the community. She also makes sure those programs align with Maritz’ values and its focus on people and potential. Debbie is the go-to person for the company’s grant process and community outreach activities.
“In the past 10 years, we’ve gotten more strategic about our corporate giving and focus around educational endeavors,” Debbie says. “We now enlist the help of our employees in the grant decision process and encourage employee community service with a paid-time-off benefit. We feel that has ultimately allowed employees to cultivate deeper relationships with our non-profit partners and within the community.”
After joining Maritz in an entry-level administrative position in December 1977, Debbie made a gradual progression through the ranks to Community Affairs in the Executive Division, assisting with management of the company’s philanthropic and community activities. She eventually became an expert in the field, retaining the organizational knowledge of Maritz’ corporate giving.
She says the highlight of her career was when she was asked to develop a strategic plan and lead the direction of company’s giving and community involvement program. She was tasked with the job of developing a recommendation that could not only best utilize the company’s charitable dollars but also its business solutions and the personal talents and professional skillsets of its employees to help improve our communities.
“To prepare for the task and gain credibility in the field, Maritz allowed me to take control of my own career track,” Debbie says. She took advantage of the company’s professional development opportunities, earning certifications in Corporate Community Involvement, Corporate Community Involvement Leadership and Corporate Citizenship Management through the highly acclaimed Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.
Debbie celebrated her 40-year anniversary with Maritz this month, and for much of that time, she has been the architect of her own career and the driving force of Maritz’ community involvement. She says her tenure has allowed her to constantly evolve, whether that’s learning new technologies or gaining the necessary skillsets to match the needs of the business and community. She says being a lifelong learner, self-motivated and open to change are the keys to her success.
It’s easy to see the benefits she and her position have brought to Maritz and its employees. Through Debbie’s efforts, Maritz has established guidelines for corporate giving, promoted community service, provided numerous opportunities for employees to get involved and instituted a policy for employees to receive paid time off for taking advantage of those opportunities.
“Being involved in the community, getting to know our neighbors and helping those who need it makes us all better people and helps us understand each other better,” Debbie says. “I’m so glad to work for a company that puts people first and encourages a culture of giving that benefits us."