Today ODC lost an incredible member of our team. We are all so saddened at the passing of Jen Blum.
Jen had an accidental fall at home on Wednesday evening and sustained a major head injury. The injury was so severe, doctors were unable to save her. We are so shocked and at a loss as we try to deal with this sudden loss of someone we all knew and dearly loved.
Jen worked for ODC for almost 8 years, as our Director of Communication and Donor Relations.
We always say that job titles really don’t matter, it is what we “do” that matters. But as I reflect on Jen and all she has meant to all of us at ODC, I realize that her true gifts, and her legacy to ODC will be her “communication” and her “donor relations”.
Jen was an extraordinary and vibrant person, with so many talents, and so much passion for ODC and the people we serve.
She truly loved the people we serve, and valued all of their unique personalities and all of their gifts. She had a way of really getting to know people, learn their “story”… their journey, their struggles and their success.
Then she could so eloquently write their stories and share their successes with our team and with the community. When she spoke about the people we serve, she said it with her heart, and she had a way of making each and every person feel special and important.
Jen and I had talked often about the importance of telling people the “stories” of the people we serve, as we knew it is the best way for people to understand what we do and the impact on people’s lives.
Her art of telling those stories has had a profound impact on ODC, as she helped us to build so many friends and supporters.
As our ODC team reflected today on all Jen has meant to all of us, many of her teammates shared that when they started their jobs at ODC, she was one of the first to approach them and make them feel welcome and included. Others called her a “cheerleader”, as she always encouraged others and praised them for a job well done.
We all remember her hearty laugh, and her warm and kind personality.
We remember her love for her family, her dogs, and her infamous “Jump Around” ringtone on her phone. Jen was an avid Badgers fan, and she and her family rarely missed a Badger home football game.
She knew how to celebrate success, as she artfully planned and orchestrated so many events over the years to celebrate success and share our story with our community… Evenings to Inspire, Celebrations of Achievement, donor appreciation events… all of these events had Jen’s “signature” on them.
As we shared our individual stories about Jen today, it was clear that the common themes were her kindness, her compassion, her ability to make everyone realize they were special and important, and her incredible “way with words”.
In her passing, she gave another gift…as an organ donor, she is giving the gift of life to many people.
We have all lost a great friend. We have learned so much from Jen, and will deeply miss her. I feel blessed to have known Jen, and I know that ODC is a better place because she shared her life with us.