With more than two decades of service to the event management industry, Sandy Pagnotti Mayhew took a leap of faith when she joined the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maryland (RMHC) as its CEO in 2013. Over the last eight years, she has dedicated her time and her organization’s resources to serving children and families in crisis in Maryland.
Q: What inspired you to come to work for your organization?
A: When my youngest child left for college. I decided to rock my career world and follow my passion for service. The time was right to make a change, and when six people sent me the job profile for the RMH CEO, I felt like it could be a perfect fit for my past experience and future goals. I got the phone call offering me the job on the day I dropped off my daughter at college. I always tell people that God knew I’d be a terrible empty nester, so God gave me a new house full of children. I am honored to serve at the helm of this beautiful, magical, wonderful place.
Q: What motivates you in your work?
A: I am motivated by the bravery of the kids and families and the goodness of the volunteers. We see the hardest things imaginable, and yet they are often layered with the most beautiful things: love, compassion, support, hope, kindness and resilience. I watch the children here who are facing unimaginable things, yet they are happy. They play, laugh and live life full out despite the hand that has been dealt them. We have the best volunteers in the history of ever. Our volunteers show up and take care of our families and provide them with a safety net of love and support. Their selflessness is humbling.
Q: What are some areas of focus for RMHC in 2022?
A: We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary and have a yearlong celebration planned. Some of the highlights include breaking a Guinness World Record on April 3 at our Red Shoe Shuffle and a 1,000-person Celebration Gala in November.
Q: What is your personal style?
A: I would say that my style is happy, tasteful and just a little left of center. I try to wear things that are bright for the kids at RMH, and I love good accessories. My favorite piece of jewelry is a 60-year-old sunflower broach one of my grandmothers gave to the other for Christmas in 1962. I love wearing it, and it reminds me of the strong women in my life.