By Rich Polt
Published May 24, 2012
Last month, I had lunch with Deborah Flatemen, Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Food Bank. Among other things, we discussed our love for music, our time living in New England, and what it was that drew us to Baltimore. Deborah also provided me with an overview of the MD Food Bank, and the critical role it plays within a much larger national food distribution supply chain, which ultimately provides free food to the state’s hungry. I have to admit that I was somewhat ignorant about how it all worked prior to our conversation. I am so glad that Deborah took some time to answer my Talking GOOD interview questions. Here’s a quick background…
In addition to her work at the MD Food Bank, Deborah serves on the national board of directors of Feeding America and is a member of the City of Baltimore’s Food Policy Task Force; the Governor’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger; and the Maryland Community Food Coalition. She is recognized nationally for her advocacy and public policy work, including her Community Kitchen Program, and was recently awarded the Dick Goebel Public Service Award by Feeding America for her work on hunger issues. Deborah is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, holds CFRE accreditation, and earned The Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Center for Management Development at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Okay … on with the interview!
The 10 questions
IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?
To bring my true, authentic self to everything I do.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU “EXPIRE?”
To sing in Carnegie Hall with top jazz musicians to a full house. OK, that’s a dream. A realistic accomplishment? For my daughter and soon-to-be husband to say that I was all they needed me to be.
IF YOU COULD MEET WITH ANYONE (ALIVE), WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM?
I would love to meet Joni Mitchell and ask if I could visit her studio. Paintings, songs, or poems, she speaks to me in all mediums.
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK BE?
Love is the Answer
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU, IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
Oprah Winfrey; a strong, focused woman with a soft underbelly who believes in the resilience of people, and fundamental human rights.
WHAT IS A BELIEF THAT IS CORE TO YOUR BEING?
There is goodness in everyone.
WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
All people who have doggedly pursued their passion to a level of sparkling excellence. I’ve seen this on so many occasions it makes it difficult for me to think that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
My career was built on a degree in music! If I weren’t doing this, I can only imagine that I would be working at something that allows my creative acumen to be put to good use. The bonus would be a job that does good for others.
TELL US SOMETHING SURPRISING ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m a bit of a pyromaniac. There’s nothing like a BIG (and I mean really big) fire blazing in the fireplace on any day when it’s cool enough to not be scorched out of the room.
WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED?
“What inspires you most?”
Answer: Art and true love.