Employee Spotlight: Helen Balmforth

Name: Helen Balmforth, Events Coordinator

What made you decide to work here?
I had run my own company for about 10 years doing event planning. I had called Deirdre (Stemmelen) over at Laurel Manor, as we were planning an event, and by coincidence she mentioned to me that Angela Hospice was hiring an event planner. It felt like that was sort of my tap on the shoulder move, as I’ve always sort of lived and worked in this square mile.

I went to St. Edith for grade school, Ladywood High School, went to Madonna (University) for college, and my most recent contract work – prior to working here – was at Ladywood High School. So when I was deciding if I wanted to continue doing contract work or go full-time…and that sort of fell into my lap, it felt like it was divine intervention, and here I am. I called, interviewed the next day, and was hired the day after that.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I’ve lived in this area my whole life. I’ve had a handful of friends that have gone through Angela Hospice in the Care Center, and just knew it by living in the area.

What’s a typical day like for you?
(huge laugh) A typical work day for an event planner is you never know what’s coming down the pipe. There are days where you think you’re going to go in and everything’s going to be in order and then it goes the complete opposite direction. There’s an amazing amount of time that has to be put into the finite details, crossing every “t,” dotting every “i.”

There are many nights I lie in bed awake at night thinking of details I might have forgotten, and I’ll jot them down in the middle of the night. You have to wear a lot of hats -- a public relations hat, a marketing hat, a sales hat, a corporate donor/cultivation hat, a logistics hat -- and keep coming up with new and fresh ideas.

Helen (in blue) with her family at this year's
Walk of Remembrance.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
The sense of teamwork and accomplishing anything that needs to be done. Everybody rallies around everybody else when things need to get done. The mission of what we do. The story of how we got started, Sister Giovanni’s story.

I would say my favorite part is the adrenaline rush that goes with the event planning and then putting the event together, and having the whole thing come to fruition. Having everybody see the labor of love that it turned into.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
Probably last year’s Light Up a Life Gala. When we introduced the concept of the dueling pianos as the entertainment there was a lot of eye-rolling, question marks, and concern. And the evening ended with us having to basically push people out the door because people were having such a great time. There was a lot of positive feedback the following day that it was one of the best events that had ever happened. Just breathing new life into events…it’s been a lot of fun to watch. It’s exciting.

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