Rita majored in business and worked her way through school. After college, she worked at the law firm Corboy & Demetrio as part of the night crew—a group Mercy Home’s Leader Council Chairwoman, Marcy Twardak, put together. Rita worked from 5 p.m. through midnight three nights a week, which worked wonderfully because she had three small children at home.
“I loved it because I was able to be with my kids during the day, my husband had them at night … and it was a great place to work for,” she said. “They were very generous, and I worked with great people and [it was] just a nice atmosphere.”
After 10 years at Corboy & Demetrio, Rita took on a new challenge—become the executive director of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce. It was here that she first “forayed into fundraising.” Though the city gave the chamber a grant for some expenses, they were tasked with raising the rest.
During her time as executive director and “one-woman show”, Rita organized a street festival, which steadily grew, and raised about $50,000 each year, more than half of the total budget. She also found unique ways to raise money, “any way that you possibly think of,” she said.
“It was a really fun job, it was very flexible,” she said. “My kids were in school, so it was mostly nights and weekends that I was doing stuff [where] I had to be away from home. That was what my impetus was for taking that job, but it ended up being very fun. It was good. And then it tended to be a little bit political, too, so that fed my interest in politics, which was fun.”
Rita has been at Mercy Home for nine years now, and despite coming into this job “not knowing what she was getting into,” she has been happy for each of those years
“[Mercy Home] is just a really great place to work,” she said. “The people that I work with are amazing and you know, it’s always a feel-good [place], you feel good about what you do, so that’s kept me here.”