Laura Capello

President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

“If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just believe in yourself and never stop learning.”

Growing up, I was always fascinated with animals and spent hours watching “Wild Kingdom.” My dream was that someday I would be able work with animals myself. I even filled several spiral notebooks with notes from everything I learned. My best thoughts came out when I wrote them down. I really wish I would have kept those spiral notebooks filled with the words of a 10-year old me. Fast forward to life after high school: I still loved animals but I loved boys more. So, I ended up leaving my home of Rockford. Illinois, and followed my boyfriend to Arizona. We got married and had two boys pretty quickly, and my dream of working with animals faded away. However, my passion for writing grew stronger. The marriage didn’t last, but I eventually enrolled myself into Arizona State University and studied journalism. I focused on public relations and marketing. The only two things I knew for sure was that I loved writing and I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t know how I was going to do this but, as life happens, I think the universe figured it out for me. 

I first interviewed at Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters in March 1998 for the position of Public Relations Manager. I knew immediately after the interview that I wanted the job. The pay was awful and the work hard, but I knew in my gut that I had to take it. I spent the next seven years working my way up to VP of marketing and loved every minute. As a child who grew up without her biological father, I could relate to the mission of helping kids from single-parent homes find a mentor. However, in 2005, I left the agency to pursue other dreams. For the next six years, I worked as a consultant for other nonprofits and some for-profit companies, helping them with their marketing and strategic planning. Then in 2011, I was approached by the new CEO of the now Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona to lead the marketing and development team. I was flattered that someone was pursing me for a job, but I definitely needed to consider whether this would be a good choice for my career. After a few days of soul searching, I decided to take the job. And one year after that, when the CEO left the agency, I was approached by the board to apply for the job. In no time in my life had I ever had the desire to lead a nonprofit agency. However, the universe seemed to have other plans for me, and I applied for and was given the job. 

Eight years later, I’m still here supporting kids in need with volunteers who help them discover their potential. By matching and supporting more than 1500 volunteers, we are able help kids develop social, emotional and intellectual skills. We bring two people together who may never have met otherwise. As for me, I still love animals and my TV is always on the National Geographic Channel. But as it turns out, I hate camping, so I would never have made it in Africa studying animals. I think I ended up doing exactly what I was meant to do, and I am okay with that.

Organization Name:
Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Central Arizona

Main Office Address:
4745 N. 7th St., Suite 210,
Phoenix, AZ 85014

Phone:
(602) 264-9254

Website:
bbbsaz.org

No. of Years with Firm:
22

Year Established Locally:
1960

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