DPS Marketer Applies Her Professional Skills to a Cause Close to Her Heart
It’s extremely rewarding when you have the opportunity to take a skill you’ve learned at work and apply it in the real world. It’s even more rewarding when that opportunity hits close to home.
Rory Otto, manager – long-range planning and commercial strategy at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has that opportunity – for a profoundly personal reason. Rory’s daughter Sienna has an incredibly rare genetic disorder called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) in which muscles, tendons and ligaments progressively turn to bone. Patients can experience bone growth at any time, and can be triggered by something as simple as basic exercise, or even just a little bruise. There is currently no treatment or cure for FOP, so once new bone is formed, it’s there for good.
At two years of age, Sienna’s bone growth from FOP keeps her from holding her mother’s hand when she walks and putting a necklace over her head while playing dress up.
“Like all parents, I had such joy watching my sweet Sienna reach all of her physical milestones as a baby and toddler,” Rory said. “But unlike most parents, I have spent the past six months watching some of those milestones be taken away and wondering what will come next.”
But instead of letting herself get down about her daughter’s diagnosis, Rory used her skills as a marketer to start The Sienna Foundation, an effort to raise money to help cure FOP. Most recently the foundation launched a new campaign called “Sienna’s Flower Garden,” a site where people can buy virtual flowers for $5 each and share them with friends, family and loved ones via Facebook and Twitter. All proceeds will go to the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association, a 501(c)(3) organization to fund research, find a cure and support people with FOP.
“I feel like our family was chosen to fight this fight for a reason, and I’m glad I can put my marketing skills to work on the most important project of my life,” Rory said. “I’ve been able to use my creative and project management skills on the campaign, and I even got a crash course in social media. Plus, I will be able to bring new learnings from this personal project back to work to help make a difference at DPS.”
So far, the foundation has raised more than $119,000 this year thanks in part to the volunteer efforts of Rory’s DPS family, which has pitched in personal and professional support for the cause. Together, they’ve helped spread the word about Sienna’s fight, advised on creative and messaging throughout the year and some even appeared in a video to help launch Sienna’s Flower Garden.
“There is no way I could have made it through this difficult year without the personal and professional support of my DPS family,” Rory said.