#WCW w/ Erin Pulling

Name: Erin Pulling

Organization: Food Bank of the Rockies

Title: CEO

Community work (board service, volunteering, mentoring, etc.)  Board Chair of Colorado Nonprofit Association, Denver Health’s Community Engagement Committee, HealthONE’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council, Volunteer at Delores Project and Project Angel Heart

CWCC Involvement (CWCC member for x amount of years, Engagement within CWCC: serve on our board, support our members and team, etc.): Food Bank of the Rockies appreciates being a member of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and is benefiting from the brilliant women taking part in CWCC’s Women in Leadership program as one of the program’s service projects. Women in Leadership participants are diving into our data and exploring how Food Bank of the Rockies measures success.

The Why: Why do you do what you do/ why are you passionate about your work in our community?  I am passionate about food security and nutrition as I believe that equitable access to nutritious food should be a basic human right. And I am even more passionate about creating abundance in Colorado’s philanthropic sector – building best practices, engaging volunteers and donors, and serving our community.

What is one of your biggest challenges that you have overcame, and how did you overcome it? 

Professionally – leading a cultural transformation at Food Bank of the Rockies during my first year here, and then during my second – responding to record food insecurity caused by COVID including a 50% growth in service, overhauling all operational systems, and responding to an almost-daily deluge of community needs with “how?” rather than “if?”. 

Personally – This isn’t a “challenge overcame” but one of my most important life purposes… being the best parent possible (along with my husband, Rich) to our three, adopted, black kids. From aspiring to be a badass hair braider to grappling with the seemingly-impossible task of teaching them how to live in this world as black kids/adults, we are constantly blown away by the magnitude of this job and the privilege of being parents to our amazing kids. 

With as different as my professional and personal challenges are, and have been, the “hows” are the same – by finding and leveraging my community of close friends, colleagues and expert advisors whom I often depend upon for listening ears, support, and advice. With this in place, combined with early morning runs, coffee, and chocolate, I feel like I can conquer anything.

What is your personal motto? This Michelle Obama quote sums up my personal motto and speaks to the power of community, and our power in choosing the people with whom we surround ourselves. “People who are truly strong life others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”

Advice for others in business based on what you have learned on your journey: Build your network. Learn early (earlier than I did) that we don’t need to have all the answers. With strong community connections, we’re only a phone call away from any expertise or support we need.

What are you most proud of from the last year? Responding to the COVID crisis in ways we would have previously thought unimaginable, with eight years’ worth of growth in two years. I’m incredibly proud of, and inspired by, Food Bank of the Rockies’ team for stepping up with innovation, optimism, and willingness to say ‘yes’ on the frontlines during the most challenging time of Food Bank of the Rockies’ 42-year history.

 

Thanks to our #WomenCrushingWednesday Partner: