FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.20.2023

✨Congratulations✨ is the magic word in this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch. We’re celebrating client Pride, a very special client graduation, smashed glass ceilings, industry events, a newborn gorilla at Smithsonian National Zoo, and more! Read it here:


Dear friends,

Welcome to summer! Tomorrow’s solstice will make it official, and, by now, most schools have finished the academic year. My younger son Alex just graduated from high school, so every milestone feels extra significant. We have had so much fun celebrating with family and friends. Congratulations, Alex!

In Pride this week, I’d like to celebrate three clients in the Northeast, whose activities are inspiring us. First up, Pine Street Inn is highlighting LGBTQIA+ community members making an impact for unhoused individuals. You will also find a great roundup of Boston-area Pride events and LGBTQIA+ owned businesses on their site. The Trustees has several Pride events scheduled at their properties, including hikes, culinary experiences, and story walks. And Pride at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston featured gallery spotlight talks and a screening of The Watermelon Woman, a landmark of queer cinema.

Vice president Dara Igersheim and account director Mary Maxwell were in Boston recently, meeting with clients at Pine Street Inn and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At the Museum, they visited the Hokusai exhibition and spent time in the galleries exploring the full collection. Dara shared photos of her favorite objects with the Avalon team, along with a rave review! She was particularly wowed by the installation of the Hokusai exhibition, which covers a huge range of topics, art movements, artists, and genres.

A Lego recreation of Hokusai's "Great Wave."Mary and Dara loved Jumpei Mitsui’s 2021 Lego “Great Wave.”

At Pine Street Inn, Dara received a tour of facilities and attended Pine Street Inn Graduation, which I hear is a joyful and inspiring event. This year’s graduation featured the accomplishments of 77 workforce development graduates and a speech by Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell. Dara was even able to lend a hand behind the scenes, helping check in graduates and, after the ceremony, helping hand out diplomas and gifts. It sounds like it was a very special occasion. Congratulations to all!

Lisa, Dara, and Halley at Pine Street Inn's graduation ceremony.Pine Street Inn’s Lisa Feeley (left) and Halley Belt (right) with Dara (center) at PSI’s graduation ceremony.

Around the industry, Avalon account director Kristin Dlesk will speak today about her transition from college student to nonprofit sector professional at the Next Gen Webinar and Speed Mentoring event, hosted by The Nonprofit Alliance Foundation’s Leading Edge Internship Program. And, on Thursday, DMAW will hold a virtual town hall to discuss “the intersection of machine learning, AI, ethics, and fundraising.”

For a lesson in marketing history, senior account director Sue Sena recently shared the story of Mary Wells Lawrence, the real-life inspiration behind Peggy Olson on Mad Men. Lawrence smashed glass ceilings, becoming both the first woman to found, own, and run a major ad agency and the first female CEO of a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. As a creative, she was best known for her work on famous campaigns like “I ♥️ New York,” “Trust the Midas touch,” and Alka Seltzer’s “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.” Fundraisers can certainly take Lawrence’s advice about connecting to people with heart:

Love is the keyword. Too many ads are cold, too filled with jargon. You have to talk person to person with people, use people words and people terms.

Finally, congratulations to the Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute on the arrival of a newborn western lowland gorilla. Zahra, whose name means “beautiful flower” in Swahili, was born on May 27 to parents Calaya and Baraka. In early June, she was named in a public vote by over 25,000 animal lovers. I look forward to following Zahra’s milestones on social media!

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102