Madison Blackmon joined the 1MISSION team as an UNtern and we never let her leave. Today, in her role as partnerships liaison, Madison does a little bit of everything—serving new and existing donors, campaigners, volunteers, and other partners who together are making a lasting difference.
In this Q&A, she tells us about her first experiences here at 1MISSION, why she’s pumped for this year’s Bikes Fight Poverty event, and what she enjoys doing when she’s not hard at work.
1. You joined 1MISSION as an UNtern in the summer of 2019. What was your favorite part of that experience?
I know it’s cheesy to say so, but honestly, everything was my favorite part of that experience. I realized I wanted to work in the nonprofit industry, and that there’s nothing I would rather be doing with my work week than trying to make a difference in this world.
The UNtern opening was exactly what I was looking for, and my interview confirmed that 1MISSION is where I wanted to be. I immediately felt the positive 1MISSION work environment during that first meeting. Everyone asking me questions was so genuine, kind, and knowledgeable. I knew immediately it would be a great environment for me to learn and grow in the industry.
Every member of the 1MISSION team has been nothing short of amazing. From being patient with me if I have questions, to encouraging me when I take on something new, and helping me grow not only in the industry, but in my personal life as well.
I guess you could say that my favorite part of being an UNtern is something that’s harder for me to explain, because it’s the feelings of support, accomplishment, gratitude, and inspiration that I will always remember, and that I continue to feel every day.
Whether I was getting to know a family in the field, working on one of our events, or leading a group of volunteers, it has all been my favorite part.
2. What does a “partnerships liaison” do anyway?
I am dedicated to serving, motivating, encouraging, and communicating with current 1MISSION partners and engaging with potential new partners. Partners include donors, volunteers, trip participants, cyclists, Gala attendees, and others.
I get to work on projects and events such as The 1M Gala, Bikes Fight Poverty, House to House, as well as sponsorship opportunities. I have had the privilege of speaking at a few schools and partner events. I love representing 1MISSION, whether I’m at a donor’s private event, or down in Tucson recruiting riders for Bikes Fight Poverty.
I love my position as 1MISSION’s partnerships liaison because I get to be part of many different projects and events throughout the year.
3. We’re gearing up for another Bikes Fight Poverty event, this one called Border to Beach to Build. Hype it up for us.
Border to Beach to Build is all about being active for the cause. Whether you’re new to cycling, or are an avid cyclist, we put our tires to the pavement to help families in poverty gain access to safe, secure housing.
This year we are riding 65 miles in Mexico, from the border town of Sonoyta all the way to Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort in Puerto Peñasco. With margaritas at the end, of course!
Then, over the next day and a half—along with our family and friends—we’ll work side-by-side with local families, building their houses and seeing firsthand the difference we have made in the community from fundraising.
Border to Beach to Build is sure to be the most impactful, and rewarding experience you will ever have on a bike.
4. When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do?
I love spending time with my friends and family. After being in the restaurant industry for over eight years, I’m a big foodie, and eating out is what I consider a home cooked meal.
I think Arizona is one of the most beautiful states, and hiking and taking trips up to Sedona or Flagstaff always reenergizes me. I also love being active in the gym, or with my dog, who is the light of my life.
I listen to music loudly, while dancing (if you can call it that) daily. Another way I escape from reality is by getting lost in a good book. I actually read so much growing up, that my parents would have to ask me to stop reading—who knew that could be an issue?!
Volunteering is another favorite of mine. I think it’s so important to give back, and there are lots of local organizations you can get involved with.
One of my highlights from 2022 was getting to know the Parra Arriaga family on a 1MISSION build trip. I’m thankful to be such a small part of a huge milestone in their life. Who knew building roof trusses and walls for 15 hours would be the highlight of my year!