To recognize and spotlight one of Rise Against Hunger’s often unsung heroes, we have shared a Q&A with Rise Against Hunger Director of Global Acquisitions, Paul Renaud. A demonstrated changemaker, passionate leader and immensely strong supporter and champion of those around him, see his insight and story below.
Q: What is your role at Rise Against Hunger and what brought you to the organization?
A: I started out as a pharmacist and practiced pharmacy for a number of years, both in retail and then working with GlaxoSmithKline. It was in that role that I became interested in nonprofit work, as a part of my job involved working with nonprofits that benefited from GlaxoSmithKline medical donations.
From there, I went back to school to earn a Masters in International Development in 1997 and began working with MAP (Medical Assistance Programs) International, who provides medicine for clinics and hospitals in developing countries through donations from pharmaceutical companies. It was there that I was first connected with Rise Against Hunger’s work and founder, Ray Buchanan. I joined Rise Against Hunger in July 2011 to help formalize their GIK (also known as product donations) program and serve as the organization’s Aid Procurement Director (now the Director of Global Acquisitions), working to create structure around the way the organization handles what was then primarily medical gifts-in-kind. The medical donation field has gone through a lot of changes, including the way donations are handled and what is and isn’t allowed. A big part of my job is making assuring our organization is always aligned with current guidelines, and I also have the pleasure of continuing to work with MAP International for a large number of medical donations.
In addition to managing our gifts-in-kind, one of my main responsibility is working with Kraft-Heinz, one of Rise Against Hunger’s most critical partners. This year alone, they will package upwards of 4 million meals during 55 events, we will organize two overseas trips for Kraft-Heinz employees to see their impact in action, as well as our ongoing cause marketing efforts. This amazing relationship points back to our partner’s first experience at an amazing Meal Packaging Event, which has led to an incredible relationship and hundreds of events. None of this would have been possible without the collaboration Rise Against Hunger’s Community Engagement teams and a shared vision.
Q: What has been the most meaningful moment or story of impact during your time with the organization?
A: One of my first medical shipments sent by Rise Against Hunger was in 2012 to Ganta Hospital in Liberia. I had an opportunity to travel to Liberia to see the hospital right after they received the shipment and saw the day-to-day challenges they faced and the needs that often went unmet. To see a 60-year-old hospital so understaffed and under-resourced really drove home the realities of the needs of centers like it around the world.
Q: How has Rise Against Hunger had an impact on you?
A: One of the great strengths that Rise Against Hunger has to offer is the ability for employees to have the leeway needed to learn and to be entrepreneurial. Originally the relationship with Kraft-Heinz came from the possibility of them donate vitamin sachets, and the ability for me to be flexible in my role allowed me the opportunity to foster that relationship and see where it could go. This culture and opportunity showed me the value of employees being given enough room to chase after opportunities and the potential for great things to come out of that.
Q: For those who are wanting to get involved in the movement to end hunger and leverage their careers, what is the best advice you can give?
A: For professionals who are looking to make hunger relief a career, I strongly believe in the value of getting a specific, formal degree in something relevant like public health or nonprofit management. Having either a formal degree that allows you to have a leg up throughout the application process or experience like working in the Peace Corps is invaluable. Many of those who have done well in this field have been willing to pursue those avenues and jump those hurdles with a willingness to relocate for the right opportunities.
For information on how you can follow the charge of Paul and other incredible leaders at Rise Against Hunger, visit the Careers page to see details on open positions.