August 31, 2015
FOCUS: 40 UNDER FORTY

Heidi Charlebois

Assistant Director of Development, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Grafton

Birthplace: North Attleborough
Residence: Worcester
High school: North Attleboro High School
Colleges and degrees earned: Bachelor's degree, Bridgewater State University; master's, Clark University

Career highlights: My first job was to establish and implement the Integration Initiative at the local YMCA. I wasn't sure where or how to start so I started small; working with one girl with Autism and integrating her into a swim class. The program quickly gained traction and now serves over 300 participants in 4 YMCA branches.

As a Public Health Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya I worked with women, children, disabled people, and animals. Every one of the projects I ran there I am proud of because I worked with people to help them achieve their goals. I learned more about myself in those two years than I had in the previous 25 years. I fell in love with a wonderful canine and am officially a dog person for life.

In Central Massachusetts I've been lucky establish a career helping people connect to philanthropic ventures; it is a very rewarding career with sustainable impacts. My career highlights to date are a collective of the partnerships I have created that continue to thrive with or without my involvement, this shows to me that I have done my job successfully and created sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships. I would not have been able to accomplish any of these highlights without my friends from the United Way teaching me and encouraging me. They helped get me where I am today and I am forever grateful.

Community involvement: I am very fortunate to have a therapy dog, he has volunteered in local schools and therapeutic programs working on behavioral health and cross-cultural expression (he is from Kenya and responds to Swahili). I also am a member of the Girls Inc. 100th Anniversary Gala committee; I support the wonderful work of Lettuce be Local, and I run in fund-raising 5k's.

Ultimate career goal: I hope to remain with Tufts for the foreseeable future and grow in my current role. I would eventually love to branch in to our international programs and bring our philanthropy overseas to advocate for animals and veterinarians in developing countries.

Non-relative you admire most: Don Zereski: innovator, philanthropist, strategic genius, outdoor enthusiast and animal lover.

Favorite book: "Jitterbug Perfume," by Tom Robbins

Hidden talents: All my talents are pretty exposed; I am a Jill of all trades, master of none.

"By the time I turn 50, I'd like to have accomplished … personal acceptance."

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