Joell Yarmel strives to leave things better than she has found them. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’ I always try to do my part to the best of my ability in order to contribute to a bigger picture,” acknowledges the director of development at the F.M. Kirby Center.
Yarmel oversees the development team that is responsible for all facets of fundraising and community outreach within the organization. She works with members and sponsors that receive benefits for their contribution that goes straight to the Kirby’s mission. She also writes grants to help underwrite community outreach programs and children’s programming.
“Although the Kirby Center is typically known for their mainstream headliners – my favorite part of the Kirby Center is what we do for the community,” admits the business woman and organizer of the events. The Young People’s Theater Series hosts five stage performances each school year and students are invited completely free of charge thanks to the generous donors that support these types of programs. The Kirby also donates over 1,000 complimentary tickets to various organizations that may otherwise not be able to attend such events and to non-profits to use at their fundraising events. The annual fundraiser, F.M. Kirby Fest, showcases local wineries, breweries, restaurants, artists and musicians.
The young woman is involved with the Greater Pittston and Greater Wyoming Valley Chambers of Commerce and sits on various committees for local non-profits. “I love supporting local businesses and do it every chance I get,” she notes.
A native of Duryea, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and relocated to Nork York City and was employed in the direct marketing field in the magazine industry. Beginning at Primedia Enthusiasts group, who published 120 magazines, and ending that career at Newsweek magazine. She then moved back to NEPA and secured a job at Helping Hands Society in Hazleton as the director of marketing and fundraising. After six years she accepted her current position at the F.M. Kirby Center.
Her mentors and great friends have been Lauren Pluskey McLain and Will Beekman whom she met when she joined the team at the FM Kirby Center. “I have learned so much just by their example and leadership. When I need professional advice, they are who I turn to,” she explained, “Fundraising is all about building relationships and maintaining them and I think it is the foundation of most of my success. As you meet more people in your community, you share with them the mission and success of your organization. It is a unique profession in that you often become friends with your donors.”
Her husband, Ryan, is a very driven and supportive person. “The way he navigates through a project always impresses me and challenges me to look at things differently. Because of that, I become a better person – personally and professionally,” said Yarmel.
Her parents have been her biggest cheerleaders and have given her the opportunity to enjoy life and take risks – because she knew they would always be there for her even if she failed.
She is the president-elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals NEPA Chapter; former 2021 Cultural Ambassador of the Year award winner through the Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional’s Awards; 2019 graduate of Leadership Northeast; former board member of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce; and serves on various committees throughout the community for special events
“As a fundraiser, you get to meet some of the kindest people through their philanthropy. It is an honor to be a steward of their contributions,” concludes Yarmel.