Recently, Michelle Schiller-Baker, Executive Director of St. Martha’s Hall, joined our team to share her experience with Mission Matters Group. Founded in 1983, St. Martha’s Hall is a nonprofit agency that provides a shelter care program for abused women and their children. Their mission is to help abused women and their children break the cycle of violence in their lives. They offer safe, confidential shelter space to women experiencing domestic violence.
St. Martha’s Hall began working with MMG in 2014 to improve their processes for collecting and reporting data. As Schiller-Baker shared, Mission Matters Group worked hard to earn their trust. “We wanted to trust that you meant your name. We wanted to trust your word…we wanted to trust your skills… and transparency was really big with us.” She recalled thinking, “Are you going to keep us in tune, keep us in touch? Are you going to show us everything you are doing, how you are doing it and even why you are doing it? You all passed all those tests. So, the trust was there with words, skills and transparency.” She continued, “You made room for our resistance, my resistance, and then we committed to this shared direction. It was so important to us and we are grateful to you all.”
Initially, St. Martha’s Hall was concerned that technology would interfere with how they interact with the women and children they serve. “We live in a culture of noise and technology is a lot of that noise. We wanted to make sure we weren’t going to get hooked on this technology…” At MMG, we believe technology should always be in service to the mission of the organization, not in conflict. Our processes and approach help ensure that happens. Schiller-Baker commented that our team “didn’t talk a lot. That meant you listened to us. That was major. We had done this with other organizations, and they didn’t listen. The way we knew you were listening was by the questions you asked. That was amazing.”
Central to our approach is our focus on compassion. Missouri currently ranks 7th in the nation for women killed by their male partners. The work St. Martha’s Hall does is lifesaving and our team quickly recognized the importance and urgency of their mission. “Every one of you that we have talked to or dealt with has left behind preconceived notions of who we are at St. Martha’s. You were ready to delve into who we are and what we do and that was major to us. There was not judgement there.”
In closing, Schiller-Baker added, “if anyone ever asks, we let them know that you are the real deal. You are transparent and you are truly your namesake.”
We are grateful to St. Martha’s Hall for the amazing work they do and appreciate that they have trusted us to help support their important mission. Michelle Schiller-Baker recently announced her retirement at the end of 2019. She has been with the nonprofit since their opening in 1983. During that time, she has been instrumental in the movement to end violence against women. We wish her nothing but the best! Our team is excited to continue working with Jessica Woolbright, the current Children’s Program Coordinator of St. Martha’s Hall who was named the new Executive Director.