New Women Leaders Emerging
Margaret Warren, Campaign Co-Chair
Odyssey Family Counseling Center

(pictured left to right: Anne Warren, Margaret Warren, Laurie Buchmiller, Lynne Ranew and Jeannie DuBose)

Margaret Warren’s Busy Odyssey

As a young wife and a mother of three rambunctious boys, Margaret Warren would seem to have little time on her hands to do much more than make endless odysseys between schools, soccer fields, grocery stores and pediatrician offices. But Margaret’s passionate commitment to help people in need led her to take a leadership role in the Odyssey Family Counseling Center’s recently completed $3.1 million capital campaign.

Odyssey, which offers an acclaimed substance abuse treatment program as well as vitally needed family counseling programs, serves citizens of Metro Atlanta regardless of their income or ability to pay. Margaret was introduced to The Odyssey Counseling Center by a friend, and eight years ago, she joined the  Board of Directors.. At the time, she  was expecting her first child and had recently retired from a successful career in commercial real estate.

“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at the time, but I knew I wanted an opportunity to give back to the community,” Margaret recalls. “The more I learned more about Odyssey, the more I respected it. Odyssey had been a quiet but highly effective resource for over 35 years, and I could see for myself the positive impact it was having on the lives of many individuals in the community.”

On Odyssey’s part, the feeling of respect and gratitude is mutual. “Margaret did an incredible, fantastic job,” says Dr. Lynn Ranew, Executive Director of Odyssey. “We are privileged she chose to invest so much of her energy and abilities in our organization.”

Stepping Up To The Plate

Margaret was serving as chairman of the board when Odyssey hire Bonnie O’Neill of O’Neill & Associates to conduct a feasibility study for its proposed capital campaign. As the capital campaign started, Margaret stepped into the role of Campaign Co-chair , serving with Clyde Tuggle, a long time supporter of Odyssey and then Senior Vice President of The Coca Cola Company. “We knew Clyde’s time would be limited and the co-chair would have to carry a huge responsibility,” explains Bonnie. “What we didn’t know was that four months into the campaign, Clyde would leave Atlanta to become President of The Coca Cola Company in Russia.” Undaunted, Margaret took over ,  aided by her two equally remarkable  vice chairs, Laurie Buchmiller and Jeannie Du Bose. As the campaign proceeded it was clear that  Margaret ‘s  passion for Odyssey was only outmatched by her tenacity  “She is a natural leader , “ says O’Neill, “She has  superb organizational and communication skills and a great way with people. Plus, she is absolutely fearless and willing to call on anyone.”

Margaret demurs on the “absolutely fearless” part, but she quickly admits that heading up the Campaign for Odyssey pushed her outside her comfort zone .  “At first I wasn’t totally comfortable with the idea of asking people for money. But Bonnie spent a lot of time training us on the best techniques of fundraising and giving us confidence that if we believed in Odyssey, we could convince others.   She was our coach and our biggest fan. “ Margaret adds, “But best of all,  Bonnie assured  us that no call was ever a failure…’you didn’t get a no, she would tell us, just a not yet.’”

Reflecting on the successful campaign, Margaret says that several things stand out in her mind. “When you work on a capital campaign, you really get  more in-depth knowledge of the organization,” she explains. “It forces you to dig deeper and get a better understanding of how things work, so you can go out to other people with confidence.”

“I also learned about the amazing philanthropic spirit of Atlanta. Individuals, foundations, and corporations who had never even heard of Odyssey welcomed us with open arms,” Margaret reflects. “It was just amazing.”

Indeed, Margaret and the entire Odyssey staff and campaign team had an incredible journey as they worked with O’Neill & Associates on their successful capital campaign.  With the funds raised, Odyssey is constructing a new Women and Children’s Center that will allow it to greatly increase its services. Thanks to the hard work of Margaret, the support of Dr. Lynn Ranew and her outstanding staff, and all the dedicated campaign volunteers, the campaign’s call to the community to “Promise A Safe Journey” was answered for the thousands of suffering women and children who reach out to Odyssey for help.

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