Dear Parents, Alumni, Staff, and Friends,
Living the Aloha Foundation’s mission of becoming our best selves requires a team effort, and I am thrilled to share we have taken two important steps forward in our endeavor to be the best organization we can be. It is an honor to introduce you to two talented leaders joining our year-round staff this month: Robynn Farkas, our new Chief Advancement Officer, and Kathleen (“Kat”) Hehir, our new Ohana Camp Director.
Robynn, a seasoned nonprofit fundraiser with nearly 30 years of experience, has spent the last 13 years leading her own firm as a global fundraising consultant and trainer. She has focused on youth programs and secondary schools across the US, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, excelling in frontline fundraising, strategic planning, and donor engagement. Her expertise has led her to meet and exceed goals of over $25 million, working with diverse organizations, including startups and well-established institutions.
Valuing diversity and global citizenship, Robynn’s career has taken her to five continents, enhancing her language skills in Spanish, French, and other languages. Her early camping experiences at Brown Ledge in Vermont ignited her passion for adventure, the outdoors, and diverse interests like wilderness hiking, swimming, theater and yoga.
As the new Chief Advancement Officer for the Aloha Foundation, she aims to achieve ambitious fundraising goals and promote impactful philanthropy, overseeing marketing, public relations, and community engagement. Starting January 10, she will work from her Detroit area home office, traveling to visit with our supporters and frequently visiting Fairlee for board meetings and community engagement. Robynn, alongside her husband Rodney, enjoys family life with their six adult children and two granddaughters, Skylar and Lilian.
Our new Ohana Camp Director, Kat, spent six years at Aloha Camp as a counselor, Unit Head, and finally as Head of Club in 2012. Since then, she has spent her career in higher education as a study abroad program manager developing high-quality customer experiences and fostering meaningful relationships, most recently working closely with graduate students pursuing their Master of Social Work.
Kat will begin her tenure on January 22, taking on the full range of Ohana responsibilities, from leading summer family camp to further developing Ohana’s wedding and event possibilities in the shoulder season. She and Robynn will both serve on the Aloha Foundation senior leadership team, where we look forward to the impact they will have on our broader community.
Kat will be relocating from Denver, Colorado with her husband, Will, and their two daughters Emilia (3) and Audrey (6 months). Since her time at Aloha Camp, Kat has thought of Vermont as a home away from home and she and her family are looking forward to immersing themselves in the outdoors, connecting with new and old friends, and rediscovering a few ski slopes (especially Will).
I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who served on both of these time-intensive search committees: Cody Arsenault, Helen Doherty, Katie Baines Drossos, Jason Knowles, Brian Maggioto, Jenn Merritt, Bryan Partridge, Arlynn Polletta, Jeff Stander, and Stephen Trage. These committee members’ dedication to poring through resumes, constructing interviews, and contributing their valuable insights is what has enabled us to make such fine selections for these important positions.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Robynn and Kat to the Aloha Foundation. Please join me in wishing them success in this new year and beyond.
Vanessa Mendillo Riegler, Executive Director