Bosma Enterprises provides employment and programming for people who are blind or visually impaired, creating many stories of inspiration and success. Heather Quigley-Allen’s role is to share these stories in strategic, compelling ways.
As senior director of marketing and resource development, she oversees all marketing and public relations for Bosma’s lines of business and program offerings that help employ people who are blind or visually impaired in Indiana. She’s also president of Bosma Visionary Opportunities Foundation, the fundraising arm for the nonprofit.
Pivot Marketing: How do you get Bosma’s message out there?
Heather Quigley-Allen: When you’re trying to spread your message, you’re asking, “Who are we reaching really well?” and “Who are we not reaching?” We’re always trying to tell our story in a really unique way. The art show we did with Pete Brown is a good example of that. It was unique and different. People are not likely to associate visual arts with blindness. By putting those things together, we were able to tell a different kind of story.
PM: How does Bosma use technology to tell stories?
HQA: We do a lot of storytelling on our website through success stories,video, and photography. We are active players in social media and we engage in a lot of public speaking events.
PM: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
HQA: I always joke that the elevator speech for Bosma Enterprises only works if you’re in a 50-story building, because we have such a dynamic business operation. We employ 120 people who are blind or visually impaired and we have a medical/surgical supply division, a printing division, and a call center.
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about that part, alongside the programs we offer for newly-blinded adults. And we also need to raise money to support those programs through the Foundation. The most challenging thing is deciding how we condense our message into the right kind of stories that have massive appeal for people who want to support us financially, who may need our services, or who want to engage with us to do business.
PM: How has Bosma inspired you in your personal life?
HQA: I started running eight years ago. At Bosma, I began coaching a mini marathon team—with both sighted and blind runners—and I ran as a sighted guide. This year, I’m training for a full Ironman race in Florida. My goal is to raise $10,000 for Bosma during my training, and a generous donor, Dean and Barbara White, will match my fundraising dollar for dollar.
Through working at Bosma, I’ve learned nothing is impossible. If there’s something I want to do, I can find a way. We talk a lot about how we can help people with disabilities, but we rarely talk about how people who have disabilities empower the rest of us to look at our lives differently.