SDI’s Serendipitous Find: Maggie Mahoney, Development Associate

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As a young college student who energetically served on various political campaigns and was obsessed with “The West Wing,” law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia seemed like the next logical choice along Maggie Mahoney’s career path.

She soon realized, however, that she did not wish to be confined strictly to the practice of law.

“I knew I wanted to do something outside of the traditional legal career,” Maggie says. “I have a varied background, including work in municipal government, landlord-tenant law and commercial real estate.”

Maggie temporarily left St. Louis to support her family in the wake of her brother-in-law’s military deployment. When she returned, she reached the conclusion that a job in the public interest field would best suit her. It just so happened that Dallas Adams, SDI’s Communications Coordinator, was preparing to go on maternity leave around this time, which created an opportunity for Maggie.

“A friend of mine knew Starkloff was looking for someone to fill in for Dallas and thought I would be a good fit,” Maggie explains. “After learning more about SDI’s mission and meeting all of the fantastic staff, I was really excited to be a part of it.”

Although her new position was not permanent, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Communications Lori Becker says Maggie quickly distinguished herself as more than just a temp.

“Maggie stands out because she instantly grasps both the broader objective of a project as well as the intricate details necessary for successful execution with minimal explanation,” Lori remarks. “Then, she performs her duties with excellence and little supervision.”

Maggie also has an intimate familiarity with disability, another factor that made the opportunity with SDI so appealing.

“I have close family and friends with disabilities, including two children I nannied for,” Maggie says. “My mom uses a cochlear implant, and I’ve always been excited to see what new assistive tech she has that allows her to continue being an incredible nurse.”

In Dallas’s absence, Maggie took on all the responsibilities of Communications Coordinator, learning on the fly and distinguishing herself as an exceptionally quick study. Her work ethic and enthusiasm proved infectious, and Lori knew she must find a permanent position for Maggie, even after Dallas’s return.

Lori decided Maggie’s skillset translates seamlessly to the role of Development Assistant, a decision that further strengthens a rapidly growing, ever-evolving staff.

“Maggie jumped in with both feet as a temp and quickly made herself an irreplaceable asset to our team,” Lori says. “She is an absolute delight to work with. She is kind and thoughtful and funny. I could not be happier to have her as a part of our team!”

While she is fairly new to the world of disability rights advocacy, Maggie already has a firm understanding of its mission and a clear vision for success.

“As Development Assistant, I will be supporting the Director of Development in working to build relationships with people outside of Starkloff. These relationships with our incredible supporters are what enable our staff to empower people with disabilities to reach their employment goals, and lead independent lives with dignity and pride.”

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