I had the pleasure of interviewing Madeleine Park, Founder & CEO of Together She Can. Madeleine is a marketing and branding professional who has used her expertise to found a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Together She Can, that works to help homeless with hygiene care. Madeleine also works with franchise and consumer businesses to help expand their brand, increase awareness and drive sales. Madeleine has founded a marketing and PR consulting firm, MadeleinePark | MarketingPR, and has landed coverage in print, digital, and broadcast outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fortune.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in a small town in Maine. I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship. From lemonade stands to t-shirt businesses, I was always busy coming up with new ideas to save the world. I even wrote to the company Smuckers in 6th grade with an idea for squeezable jelly! At that time, they did not have the manufacturing tools to create it but fast forward to 2018 and it is the only jelly I buy!
Why did you found your company?
I founded Together She Can because I saw a problem and I found a way to help fix it. I have always struggled with the idea of homelessness. I couldn’t afford to always give food or money but I realized one day, that wasn’t all they needed.
I started creating hygiene care packages and I would keep them on me for when I passed by someone in need.
My idea soon spread and before I knew it, I was founding an official 501(c)3, we had steady product donors, and partnering with homeless shelters across Boston. It is amazing to know we are actively working, every day, to help fix this problem of homelessness.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Together She Can is working to disrupt a narrative that homeless people, women in particular, are not people like the rest of us. We are shedding light on the the fact that basic human needs transcend how much money a person has.
Many of these people have fallen on hard times and are simply doing their best to get out of an impossible situation.
We want to bring attention to the fact that healthy hygiene is a crucial part of life and social status; having access to hygiene products will help those struggling with homelessness into the next phase of their lives.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My father, mother, and co-workers (past and present) have been great mentors to me. It is nice to have mentorship from those who really know and understand me, my organization, and have a love for helping me succeed.
How are you going to shake things up next?
Together She Can is excited to continue our growth beyond Massachusetts to help homeless communities across the nation. We are currently working on our expansion into 2 new states.
I have also recently started accepting new clients for my marketing & pr consulting firm, MadeleinePark | MarketingPR, and I am looking forward to working with new businesses to expand their marketing efforts. The marketing landscape has changed drastically in the last 5 years, it will be exciting to give these brands new, fun, and refreshing ways to reach their audiences.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. “Ask for help.” Whether it is advice or building a team, asking for help is a great way to grow your business efficiently. As a founder, it can be hard to invite new people in or give away some control but you can’t do it alone.
2. “Don’t overstress your operations.” Growth is great but make sure you are keeping your growth scalable. If you grow too fast it can overstress your operations and you may find yourself and your business treading water. For example, Together She Can’s in-kind donation portal grew so quickly that at one point I had 10,000 mini shampoos in my kitchen before I had even had a place to store them!
3. “Follow-through.” Don’t procrastinate, if you have a new idea or build a new business relationship — follow up and follow-through. It can be easy to add new ideas and tasks to the bottom of your to-do list. Don’t let opportunities get lost in the business of day-to-day.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
Shoe Dog by Nike Founder, Phil Knight, has had a great impact on how I view the growth of our organization. The book is an incredible reflection of how a corporate giant was once a small business and how they have maintained their mission and beliefs over time.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
There are so many inspiring and influential people out there, it would be impossible to choose just one! I would love to meet up with anyone who is interested in nonprofit work, has started a nonprofit, and anyone especially interested in helping homeless communities.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram: @togethershecan & @mpmarketingpr
Website: togethershecan.org & mpmarketingpr.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com