Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Veteran media professional brings skills set to new role at IHRC
Story and photo by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register
(From the April 18, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)
Mike Pallardy is the new Development Officer at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, Spokane. (IR photo)
Although he’s lived in Spokane for about 35 years, you can still hear traces of Chicago in Mike Pallardy’s cheerful voice.
As of April 2, Pallardy is the new Development Officer for Immaculate Heart Retreat Center (IHRC), located south of Spokane. Besides his innate sense of joy, Pallardy brings a wealth of communications experience to the role, as well as a long-standing love of the Church and Eastern Washington.
He grew up in a Chicago suburb, a cradle Catholic (“the oldest of nine” children), “pushing a broom” at Expo ’74, the World’s Fair in downtown Spokane.
“I fell in love with the area,” he said. After returning to Illinois and finishing degrees in communications and learning resource production (“filmmaking and photography) he moved back to the area in 1978.
After working as a producer-director in cable TV in Spokane, he started his own video production company, Image Productions.
Image “did everything, from broadcast commercials, to corporate industrial presentations,” Pallardy said. “As the business grew, more and more people liked our creative and marketing ideas.” From an emphasis on film and video production, the business “morphed into developing brochures, helping companies’ marketing campaigns, logo design, to stationary,” helping other businesses create a presence in marketplace. Eventually it turned into what he described as “an electronic media production company. We could do anything in terms of media.”
Evolving communications technology “was a driving factor,” he said, in terms of “what we were capable of doing.”
Pallardy’s company also contributed its skills to a number of efforts on behalf of the Spokane Diocese, including the “Here I Am, Lord” campaign for the new Bishop White Seminary; “With Grateful Hearts,” a campaign to help fund priest retirement; a capital campaign for Catholic education; and most recently, the capital campaign to fund parish contributions for the bankruptcy settlement campaign.
He also created the first video presentation for what became the Annual Catholic Appeal, as it re-branded from what had been called the Diocesan Development Fund, “and I’ve worked on all of them ever since,” he said.
The Assumption parishioner is a long-time member of marketing committee of The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington. He is a veteran of creative approaches to Catholic development work, both in terms of creative ideas and applying technology.
Father Mike Savelesky, Pallardy’s pastor at Assumption, Spokane, also worked with Pallardy on a number of development projects over the years, including the Annual Catholic Appeal and the Chapter 11 Settlement Campaign. He estimates that “thousands of Catholic households throughout the diocese have seen the brochures, video clips and DVD presentations” Pallardy has worked on or produced over the years.
“Development work is not easy,” Father Savelesky said, “but Mike’s excitement and personal faith turn it into a joy. He is one of those outstanding laity who has a profound understanding of the mystery of the Body of Christ, the Church, and what it takes to ‘make it happen’ at the practical level, especially that of finances. As parishioner, family man and business executive, he knows the value of Christian stewardship and is skilled at integrating it into a Catholic life style. IHRC will be blessed richly by Mike’s work,” said Father Savelesky. “In that sense, he will be a blessing to the diocese as a whole, since IHRC is such an integral part of the mission of our local Church.”
Just as his business grew, expanded, and shifted over the years, his own role as a committed professional, using his skills to help the Church, has now taken a turn with his involvement at IHRC.
Simply put, “my responsibility is to further the mission of IHRC,” he said, “to support and further the IHRC apostolate.”
Over 6,300 people participated in one program or another at IHRC last year, he said. The retreat center itself subsidized attendance – some $12,000 – for those who wanted to attend a Day of Prayer, or a retreat, but couldn’t afford all or part of the cost.
The numbers help tell the story. But it’s a story, says Pallardy, that more people need to hear. And once they hear it, he’s convinced they’ll want to be part of IHRC’s mission.
“Once people see what happens here, the spirituality, what IHRC has to offer, they’ll want to be part of supporting it,” he said. “My goal is to further and support that effort through development so that IHRC will continue to be a spiritual place, where individuals from all faiths can come and find hope, peace, and healing.”
It’s not just about fundraising. It’s also about the programs IHRC offers.
“I believe that development drives programming, programming drives development. They go together,” he said. “People partake of a program, they have a wonderful experience, and they want to know what they can do to help” – financially, or as volunteers, or both.
Ann Price, the previous Development Office, “did a fantastic job. I want to further her legacy and do as well, or better.”
Besides the fundraising itself, he will be involved with the marketing materials IHRC uses to promote its mission.
“One of the main reasons that we chose Mike Pallardy for this position is the experience he has had assisting the diocese with fundraising campaigns, as well as his work as a consultant in the strategic planning process,” said Deacon John Ruscheinsky, IHRC’s director. “He has a great love for his Catholic Faith. We look forward to him being an integral member of our staff and a part of the visioning process that will strengthen the future mission” of IHRC.
Perhaps most simply, “it’s all about relationships,” Pallardy said. “Reaching out to key donors and supporters to introduce myself and nurture that relationship. Creating relationships with people who walk through IHRC. What can I do to make their experience here wonderful?”
He’ll be reaching out to the priests and pastors of the diocese, too. Although they are familiar with IHRC and its work over the years, “they might not know all IHRC can do for them, for their parishes, for their people.”
He’ll also work with businesses, letting them know that IHRC can be a valuable resource for them – “it’s a wonderful place to get away” with key staff, away from phones and other interruptions. He’ll be talking with youth ministers as well – “we want the youth to come here,” he emphasized.
“The main thing I want people to know: IHRC is a place of hope, peace, and healing,” he said. “Anybody can come here for a spiritual walk, a journey to get closer to God. I’m here to facilitate that effort,” so that cost will never be an obstacle to anyone who wants to share in what IHRC has to offer.
“It doesn’t happen by magic,” Pallardy said. “Without the generous help of individuals, our apostolate will not continue. We have to have that help. I’m here to make that happen. I’m also here to make sure that IHRC is here for the next 100 years.”
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