As the new Director of the Colorado 4-H Foundation, Rochelle Platter has hit the ground running. With a valuable combination of experience in finance, youth education and development, communications, and fundraising, Rochelle will work closely with state program staff and Foundation board members to establish a strategic vision and drive fundraising and development initiatives of the Foundation. Read on to learn more about Rochelle’s background and her goals for the Colorado 4-H Foundation, told in her own words.
What drew you to the role of Foundation Director?
I love the mission of Colorado 4-H Foundation to raise and distribute funds with the eye on the prize of “positive youth development and education.” I’m an optimist and have great hope for our future because we get to encourage and strengthen Colorado’s youth through 4-H programs.
What part of the role excites you most?
Meeting the 4-Hers, extension agents and donors. I love people and discovering what motivates them, and I can already tell Colorado is full of people who love 4-H.
What is your professional background?
I majored in Accounting and minored in Communications because I knew I wanted to combine my interest in finance with my passion for people. Out of college I worked for a commercial bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma that provided intensive training for future bankers; I later took on a portfolio of corporate investments for Fortune 500 companies in Tulsa. The trading floor where I worked was a mini version of those images you see of the traders on Wall Street. It was hectic and great fun!
Four years into this, I took some time off to raise a family (my husband and I have six kids), and later returned to work when we moved to Minnesota to pursue another field that interested me, public relations and communications. These roles expanded and I added donor development and event planning during the six years I worked for private schools in Minnesota. I started a Development Office at the last school I worked for and grew to love the whole process of donor relations including prospecting, cultivating and stewardship.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your career to date?
Building relationships with people so they see me first as a trusted advisor, and secondly, as a person to help them find their passion for giving. My most satisfying moments professionally have been walking alongside a new donor who catches the vision for our organization and makes a donation because they feel alignment with our mission and values. Seeing their passions awakened through giving is incredible!
What are some short and long-term goals you have in mind for the Foundation?
Short-term: Reaching out to extension agents, donors and CSU advancement to make the most of our resources and learning from the experiences of others to enrich the outreach of the Foundation.
Goals into 2018: Travel to the counties to get a personal view of the 4-H programs throughout Colorado. Join in the fun of the state fair!
Long-term: Grow the Foundation resources by establishing a Major Gift Program to increase funding and programs for 4-Hers throughout Colorado.
What is the value of the 4-H program in today’s world?
This is easy – leadership! I’ve met countless people in just the last two months who have told me, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without 4-H.” This includes a wide array of people representing various professions. Additionally, I love that 4-Hers choose what they want to study and have mentors who help them learn and grow.
What three words best describe you?
How about three phrases?
- Doesn’t take “no” for an answer.
- Lover of people.
- Every day needs a dose of fun.
You have deep CSU roots…
My parents both graduated from CSU. After graduation my dad joined the faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine for several years. I was part of their growing family and my parents brought me home from Poudre Valley Hospital to their first home on East Laurel, then moved to a house on West Elizabeth that used to have a 3-acre horse pasture behind it. As an equine surgeon’s daughter my first pet was a horse. And one of my high-school jobs was being “an official pee catcher” at horse races.
How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?
I haven’t always done this well, as I tend to get engrossed in my work. However, our family makes a point of eating dinner together every night and my husband has a demanding job, so we remind each other to seek a good balance. He loves to fish and I love to sit in the boat (brought from Minnesota, of course) so we work it out.
Who is your hero?
Professionally – Suzanne deTreville, my college Quantitative Analysis professor. This was my favorite class, and Suzanne taught me how to uncover information through analysis. She also empowered me to dream big professionally and immerse myself in the world of finance.
Personally – my 23-year-old daughter Bethany. She learned she had a brain tumor last May that was successfully removed in September. Watching her go through significant change and loss while remaining positive and other-focused this past year has been inspiring and challenging to me. She epitomizes the famous Twitter quote: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
One of my favorite apps is Yelp, especially when I’m travelling. When I’m out visiting counties this year, I hope the extension agents will forward me their favorite restaurants.