After 12 years as Population Media Center’s Director of Development, Paul Ugalde has decided it’s time to switch gears. He is excited for the learning curve that will come from supporting development efforts in a different field as Development Manager for Vermont’s Shelburne Museum. Paul’s last day at PMC is March 23rd.
“It’s not different from my start at PMC,” Paul says. “The nonprofit sector demands that you know more, be an engaged citizen, and step outside your world. That’s certainly what PMC has been about and I’m excited to be on a new learning curve again.”
When Paul first saw one of PMC’s meetings, he said it reminded him of a UN meeting. He was hooked on the approach and scale of impact. He was also on a plane to Africa six weeks into the job.
“Not many people have Freeport, Sierra Leone on their bucket list,” Paul says, “but I’ve been there three times.” If you talk with him long enough, you’ll learn that he was supposed to be there a fourth time.
“There’s the week I got stuck in Ghana,” he says with a grin. “I wasn’t supposed to be in Ghana, it was just a layover to catch my connecting flight to Sierra Leone for meetings. The airline accidentally cancelled all future legs of my trip, stranding me in Ghana. When I landed and they said the flight was full and I wasn’t on the list I said, ‘Okay, when’s the next flight’ thinking like an American. They said ‘Tuesday, and that flight is also completely full’… It appeared I was going to be visiting Ghana for at least three days.”
His week unfolded with a number of surprises, like having to pay $50 to a customs official named Philip because he had made no pre-arrival visa arrangements to stay in the country. Paul would walk to the airport each day to check with Philip and see when he’d be able to catch a flight to Sierra Leone. After about a week, Paul had to cancel the whole docket of Sierra Leone meetings and go to his next round of meetings in Cameroon.
“When I left, I went over to Philip and said, ‘Nice meeting you. Thank you so much for all your help. I hope I never see you again!’” Luckily, Paul made it to the Cameroon meetings.
Certainly, PMC has changed tremendously since Paul joined in 2006. Paul reflects on how as PMC has grown, tasks have become more specialized and defined, making more efficient use of everyone’s time. PMC is grateful for Paul’s contributions and easy smile that have helped PMC get to where it is today.
“Paul has shown deep commitment to PMC and its mission, leading our development function during his tenure,” says Bill Ryerson, PMC’s President and Founder. “We are very sorry to lose his skills and his vast knowledge of PMC’s programs and the donor community that makes these programs possible. We wish him great success in his new venture, but will always consider him to be part of the PMC family.”
ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):
Population Media Center is a nonprofit leader in entertainment-education, dedicated to women’s rights and empowerment, population stabilization, and the environment. For the past two decades, PMC’s entertainment programming has promoted social and cultural change and has helped 500 million people in more than 50 countries. www.populationmedia.org