Mike Nethercott joined the Reena Foundation Board at the request of his friend Toby Rosner, and says he was a bit of an outsider initially. His marketing background came in handy as the board, at the time, was looking for ways to improve and enhance Reena’s visibility through PR, advertising, and compelling communications. “Marketing was events based (at the time),” says Mike, “One of the things the board was looking at was how to expand our donor base…with some advertising and creative opportunities and examine how to enhance our digital and online presence. We came up with a successful new creative approach that was used for online and print billboards which, at the time, was a departure from how we had communicated Reena’s mission…we wanted to personalize it a bit more.” The campaign Mike helped create profiled residents with billboards featuring photographs of Reena supported individuals with taglines messaging that individuals with diverse abilities are our neighbours and part of our community.
After several years on the board Mike became Reena Foundation Chair in 2013 through a transitional time for Reena. Bryan Keshen was just coming into Reena as the new CEO, replacing his mother, Sandy Keshen in the role. “Sandy was iconic,” says Mike, “as far as everything she had done for the Foundation over a long period. She was a force of nature.” However, he recalls the changeover as a smooth and successful one.
Nethercott also came into Reena at a time when the Reena Board and the Foundation Board were having some challenges working together and was able to help re-establish a better relationship between the two. By bringing on Sheila Miller Lampert, Nethercott and the board helped set the stage for the incredible progress that the foundation has made since then. “We wanted someone who had a huge amount of energy…and passion and commitment and Sheila just stood out.”
Along with continuing to improve Reena’s visibility through PR, advertising, and compelling communications, another goal of the Foundation Board under Nethercott was to focus on establishing large corporate partnerships and sponsorships that would help longer-term commitments and greatly increase fundraising revenue. Nethercott helped launch an $8.3 million ‘Minding our future’ campaign. The three-year initiative was, in part, an effort to significantly grow the endowment fund in support of key vulnerable programs like Reena’s respite and enrichment programs. The campaign was a resounding success.
Mike Nethercott’s time on the Reena Foundation Board was cut short due to a conflict-of-interest issue when he sold his business, but, he says, his time with Reena holds a special place in his heart. “Participating in events and seeing the joy on people’s faces that were participating…For me that was – what it was all about. It was just a great cause. There was just such a passion and commitment…and I think that’s always what drove and continues to drive Reena forward. Providing care and integration in the community was bang on then and I think its bang on now.”
Mike Nethercott was Reena Board Chair from 2013-2015.