How Brooke Billmaier emerged as a great leader for St. Stephen’s Community House

Pillar nonprofit board executive finalist

Brooke Billmaier
past president
St. Stephen’s Community House
(614) 294-6437 |

It didn’t take Brooke Billmaier long to be recognized as an emerging leader on the board of trustees for St. Stephen’s Community House. The decision was immediate, and as a vote of confidence, she was named co-chair of the organization’s largest and most important fundraiser, Bravo! For the Children.

Before her leadership, the event had never broken into six-figure net profit territory. As a result of her leadership, the first year she co-chaired the event, it raised $120,000 in net proceeds. Billmaier motivated the board development committee as well as the entire board to utilize their contacts in more effective and innovative ways to increase the net profit of the event. The 2012 Bravo! For the Children event raised nearly $200,000.

When a leadership retreat had to be canceled in 2008-09 because of financial challenges, Billmaier took the initiative and developed an alternative. She called upon her HR team at Victoria’s Secret, where she is vice president of merchandise planning, to help — and soon, the St. Stephen’s staff received training as openings occurred in the corporate training sessions.

Volunteers who serve in a board position or help with Christmas Care, the food pantry or child care are now tracked, thanks to a system established during Billmaier’s tenure as president. This has helped create a 45 percent increase in repeat volunteers.

Billmaier believes the mission of the agency is the promise made when a family enters St. Stephen’s doors for help — and, “We must do all we can to keep that promise,” she says.