• Kate Wilhelm

The Pleasures and Rewards of Purpose-Driven Work

Ceisler COO Kate Wilhelm reflects on how our firm — and all who work here — benefit by partnering with nonprofits and corporations aiming to improve the community.


Coded by Kids' 2019 CommonSpace Student Showcase (photo by Chris Kendig)

You know the old adage, “If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”?


It’s a big lie. Good work is hard, even when it’s fun.


But when you can combine your passions with purpose, the hard work becomes sweeter and much more satisfying.


One rewarding aspect of our work at Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy is that we’re fortunate to partner with clients whose causes, issues and perspectives improve our community in ways big and small.

For example, Coded by Kids is a nonprofit that’s creating an innovative tech pipeline for 8- to 18-year-olds — and striving to make Philadelphia the equitable tech capital of the world. It has forged partnerships with civic leaders including Comcast, Bank of America and the Lenfest Foundation to launch 1Philadelphia—an initiative empowering young leaders and innovators who have historically been shut out of startup and tech opportunities.



This spring, Coded by Kids’ work includes an exciting partnership with AMC and its hit show The Walking Dead. The project will introduce kids to coding, a pitch competition that will provide funding to founders with great ideas, a website-building competition for students across the country and much more. Like the best nonprofits, its ideas and goals are massive — and it’s our job at Ceisler Media to help realize those ideas and achieve those goals.


I have a background in nonprofits, and I love the entrepreneurial spirit they bring to their work. When I was executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, part of my job was to give the big speech — but another part was to dive in when it was time to lay out the tablecloths at an event or hand-write individual thank-you notes.


The team at Ceisler Media lives and breathes that spirit, and it drives much of the work we do. Our founder, Larry Ceisler, has always emphasized the importance of thinking through all sides of an issue, making sure we’re nimble and prepared. We know the bigger purpose behind our work and that’s what makes us proud.


As an independent agency, we are privileged to work with causes and clients whose values motivate our team members in every corner of the state. In Pittsburgh, that includes working with the 10.27 Healing Partnership, a nonprofit that has helped the city heal after a gunman attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue. Staffers across our firm stepped in with their passions and expertise, leading to meaningful efforts for the organization and community.


In our hometown Philadelphia, Audacy has been a longtime partner and we love helping them tell the story of their social impact nationally. For the second straight year, we’ve helped create the narrative for their Audacy Serves Social Impact Report. It details how Audacy effects change in its 48 markets through projects aimed at —among other things — ensuring a sustainable planet; promoting a vibrant democracy through an informed, educated citizenry; and destigmatizing the conversation around mental health. These three priorities drive so many of my professional passions — to combine them all in one client gives me daily satisfaction.


Across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, so many of our clients engage in purpose-driven work — and it’s endlessly rewarding to partner with them to achieve great things. In this moment, as we embark on recovery, it has become increasingly important to see how these sectors can work together to create the change our communities need. Even when the work is hard — especially when the work is hard — it’s the purpose that makes it all worthwhile.


 

Kate Wilhelm is the COO and Senior Vice President at Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office.

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