Where There's a Need, Fill It
Through community involvement, Deloitte’s Jack McFadden is a real STAR.
Thirty-three years ago, Jack McFadden celebrated the birth of his daughter, Melissa. She was born with Down Syndrome, but McFadden, a Public Relations senior manager with Deloitte Services LP, worked to enable Melissa to have a full life – she went to her local high school in Wilton, CT; she participated on the varsity cheerleading squad; and she worked at the YMCA in the afternoons. It was after she was born that he became deeply involved with STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, a nonprofit organization near his home in Connecticut. The organization, founded in 1952, is dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through support groups, workforce placements, community awareness and advocacy.
It was at a STAR event in the 1990s that McFadden heard Jim Wall, now a retired management principal, accepting an award on behalf of Deloitte. In his speech, Wall spoke about the evidence surrounding supporting diversity in the workplace and that stuck with McFadden.
Through STAR, McFadden met several other Deloitte professionals, many of whom were long-time supporters of the organization. At the time, McFadden worked in advertising, but, when considering his career path, he often thought about how much Deloitte and its mission to serve others impressed him. McFadden recalls thinking, “I want to work there – that’s an organization that cares.” Ultimately, he was hired by his “good friend and neighbor," Jim Quigley.
Now at Deloitte, McFadden has continued to focus his energy on Corporate Citizenship and Inclusion strategies from a PR perspective. Every year, thousands of Deloitte professionals participate in pro bono engagements in their communities – offering tax assistance to low-income communities, enhancing HR systems for nonprofits and performing other professional services – all with the goal of supporting those in need. Through the media, McFadden makes others aware of the good work done by Deloitte professionals.
“People from Deloitte are often amazed at how valued their skills are and how applicable what they do at work is to people outside our organization. If there’s a need, we can help,” says McFadden.
Even after McFadden came to Deloitte, he continued to volunteer at STAR. He helped the organization with its PR and communications needs and served as its president for three separate terms. He also helped brainstorm the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2002, which centered on his idea to create, display and auction a “Galaxy of STARS” – sculptures designed by local artists that had been displayed in towns throughout Connecticut.
American ArtParades magazine, which has a series covering the creation of community sculptures exhibitions, selected the “Galaxy of STARS” as the arts project that made the most positive impact in the state of Connecticut in 2002.
Deloitte continues to support STAR through projects on IMPACT Day organized by the Wilton office. Members of the Deloitte professional staff and their family members also receive valuable support through STAR.
In recognition of the quality and scope of McFadden’s work with the “Galaxy of STARS” and because he was the former president of the organization, STAR presented him with one of the original STAR sculptures in 2009. “There is no individual more deserving of recognition,” said Katie Banzhaf, the STAR executive director. “Jack has positioned the organization to grow and succeed for years to come. Individuals with developmental disabilities throughout our area have a bright future thanks to his leadership.”
McFadden shrugs off such praise. “In my lifetime, I’ve always been involved in the community,” he says. “And my work aligns with Deloitte’s values and our focus on skills-based volunteerism. We believe in impact and in outcomes. We could just write checks, but those wouldn’t necessarily have a lasting impact. By sending our people out in service, we’re showing that what we do goes beyond the office – it’s who we are.”
Sadly, McFadden's daughter Melissa passed away in 1999 at 19, during her senior year of high school after developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia. McFadden is proud of everything that Melissa had accomplished and how much STAR helped her and others live successful lives. “Many contributed toward Melissa having a rich and rewarding life,” McFadden says. “And in return she transformed everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.” His continued work with STAR in the 14 years since speaks to his passion for the organization and the cause.
When disaster strikes
While no longer active in any particular volunteer projects, when Hurricane Irene and Sandy hit, McFadden jumped in to help his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to provide relief efforts to those affected by it. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, wreaked further havoc on McFadden’s local Connecticut community. Again, through his church as leader of area public affairs, McFadden offered support, succor and media guidance for national TV coverage.
“People have been through so much recently. I want to help in whatever way I can, so I use my communications and PR skills for my church,” he says. “It’s a great example of how we can leverage the work we do at Deloitte in our communities.” He and his church continued to deliver supplies and contributed hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to those affected by the hurricanes for months after the storms. “We’re all members of the community,” McFadden says. “Like most of us, I’m available where there’s a need and will do whatever it takes to make a difference.”
McFadden continues to be sensitive to those in need. “I go wherever my heart leads me,” he says. When his community needs help, they know where to find him.