Raising $95 million in charitable gifts and dues for nonprofit organizations qualifies as a pretty big challenge, but telephilanthropy (phone-based fundraising) combined with intelligent email technology has put a whole new spin on fundraising. Ask Martha Holzheimer Connor G.O. ’72, president and CEO of DirectLine Technologies in Modesto, Calif. “I believe we have the most sophisticated call center management technology in the nation,” Connor says.
She has led the corporation since 1990, applying her skills in strategic planning, market development and financial management. Connor says the most important thing she learned at Gilmour/Glen Oak was how to use critical thinking skills. “They support strong decision making, leadership and persuasive writing techniques – another strong suit at Gilmour,” she notes.
Connor holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Case Western Reserve University, where she graduated cum laude. She earned a master’s degree in Non-Profit Agency Administration from California State University (CSU) Stanislaus in Turlock, Calif., and a doctorate in the same field from Bryson University in Columbus, Miss. In 2006, the executive was named Alumnus of the Year at CSU Stanislaus.
During her career, Connor was director of enrollment service at the University of Southern California and held a similar position at a nursing school in Portland, Ore. She also served as director of annual giving and alumni at her alma mater, CSU Stanislaus. She met her husband, Gary Connor, there and the two have been married for 29 years. The couple love gourmet cooking, wine collecting and entertaining, and Martha enjoys contemporary dance, reggae music and jazz, plus reading the classics – with a bestseller thrown in sometimes.
As a Glen Oak student, Connor learned the importance of service for one’s sense of completeness and well-being. “My service on many nonprofit and civic boards (including the Modesto Symphony Orchestra) and 21 years as a Rotarian, has brought me fulfillment and broadened my perspective,” she says. Connor counts herself as a “glass half full” person and believes in tackling problems pronto. “No problem or challenge gets better with time, it just gets harder to resolve,” she says. “So solve it now, act now, do it now.”
Her other honors include Outstanding Woman of Stanislaus County in 2009, Large Business of the Year from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce in 2001, a market research and analysis award from the U.S. Commerce Association in 2010 and a slew of awards recognizing women who own businesses.
Over the years, Connor says she has lost track of many high school friends, but she is reconnecting with them through Facebook. The entrepreneur is greatly anticipating her 40th Gilmour/Glen Oak reunion next year. She also looks forward to seeing the Holzheimer clan again, especially cousins, Martha Holzheimer Dempsey GO ’73 and Tim ’61, adding “There is a long-shared tradition between the Holzheimer family and Gilmour, which I’m proud to be a part of.”