Why She’s A Top 40: She has translated her passion for community into a business of philanthropy.
Key To Her Success: “I co-ordinate and connect – that’s what I do. I bring people together.”
Erin Rayner pulls out one BlackBerry, leaving a second in her bag; each one is for a different role. She carries her office with her, tortoise-style. But, for creature comparisons, the Energizer Bunny is a more appropriate symbol of her work life. As both the president of her own company, ED Marketing, and the manager of philanthropy for Cash Store Financial, the parent company for The Cash Store and Instaloans, Rayner is beyond busy.
In 2006, she opened ED Marketing as a marketing strategy and events planning outfit. She doubled its revenues every year for the first three years it was in business, and the company now supports a second full-time employee and provides work to subcontractors. ED still evaluates clients’ programs and brand strategies, creates and implements marketing strategies and plans events, but over the past four years, it has morphed to better align with Rayner’s passion for philanthropy.
“We support volunteer committees, boards and third-party organizations, especially staging fundraisers,” she says. ED helps ensure that the people involved in the charities it works with don’t burn out.
“Committees are staffed by passionate volunteers, many of whom are tired, frustrated and ticked off,” Rayner says. “It doesn’t have to be like that.” ED helps organizations create a framework for success by providing them with administrative support that’s often overlooked. “We support an organization so that it’s self-sustaining.”
ED has worked with the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, Campaign to Control Cancer, Cornerstone Counselling Centre and others. In total, the company has helped raise $500,000 over the past four years.
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Now, Rayner has an even bigger goal in sight. Since February, she has been spending half her time working at Cash Store Financial, which has more than 500 Cash Store and Instaloans outlets across Canada, to help it raise the $7.5 million it has committed to the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. Cash Store had been struggling to engage young managers to champion a series of charity runs, so it hired Rayner to work with staff to implement the events, called Freedom Runs.
“The managers wound up feeling good about themselves, their jobs and their communities,” she says. “And they built leadership skills. It’s a sophisticated approach to philanthropy.” Thirty-two Freedom Runs are scheduled for this year.
With her success at Cash Store and her own growing business, there’s not a lot of time for relaxing. “I don’t really get that division between work and the rest of the time,” she confesses. Although she has garnered recognition for her efforts, Rayner says that’s not what motivates her. “Really, the work we do is how I make a difference,” she says. “We’re good at creative support – showing companies that philanthropy can work both ways.”