Lighthouse Board Member Profile: Ellen Martin

She heard about us, applauded our mission, and got involved!

Right from the start, serving on The Lighthouse Board felt like a good fit for Ellen Martin, Boeing’s vice president of Ethics and Business Conduct. She also has a great deal of empathy for the people we serve as her father and other family members have coped with vision loss brought on by macular degeneration.

Celebrating her first-year anniversary this September, Ellen reflects on her experience with the organization. “Like everyone who comes into contact with The Lighthouse I was simply amazed by the wide array of innovative services it offers the community, including Veterans,” she says.

Meeting the needs of Veterans is of special interest for Ellen, as her company, Boeing, prides itself on offering skill development and training for Veteran workforce transition; and supporting recovery and rehabilitation programs that focus on post-traumatic stress, moral and physical injuries and suicide prevention. The Lighthouse operates a customer care center staffed by Veterans, which serves members of the military and their families.

“I was struck by how The Chicago Lighthouse emphasizes education and training so individuals can learn to help themselves,” she notes, recalling the parable, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Ellen is a strong proponent of our call centers as both a way to create jobs and to generate new revenue streams to support The Lighthouse’s mission. “I am impressed by the organization’s willingness to consider operating call centers in troubled parts of the city to open doors of opportunity to disadvantaged youth,” adding, “it demonstrates strong leadership that we have come to expect from The Lighthouse.”

Despite the challenges caused by shrinking governmental resources, Ellen expresses optimism about The Lighthouse’s future. “This organization has an uncanny ability to come up with solutions to tough problems, whether it is a new form of assistive technology to deal with vision loss or a proposal to create jobs.”

A mother of two college-age sons who enjoys running, water skiing and sampling cuisine from Chicago’s world class restaurants, Ellen adds, “As a Board Member, I look forward to doing whatever I can to help The Lighthouse adhere to its mission.”

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