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January 26. 2014 8:07AM

Maureen McDonald concentrates on 'highly preventable problems'

Maureen McDonald 

Maureen McDonald, 39

Home: Hooksett

Birthplace: Newton, Mass.

Family: Husband, Sean, and two children, Finn, 4, and Fiona, seven months old

High school: Newton North High School, Newton, Mass.

College/post grad degrees: Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. M.S. in broadcast journalism from Boston University

Current job: Community relations director, New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Key past positions held: 5 p.m. producer for WMUR

Volunteer activities: I commit as much of my free time as possible to participating in the numerous events held by the 14 member programs of the coalition.

Most admired person (outside your family): Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Key current professional challenge: Engaging more people in the workplace to prevent domestic and sexual violence. Not only do we need financial support but we also need more key figures who are willing to speak out on these issues. The coalition has a lot of support within the Statehouse walls, but we need to see more people who are willing to dedicate their time and their resources to this issue across the state.

Last major achievement: Started a fundraising program for NHCADSV and in four years our individual donations went up 400 percent.

Favorite place in New Hampshire: Jackson

What book are you reading now? "Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site" (my 4-year-old likes it) 

How do you relax? Spend time with friends and family

What websites do you visit most often? Facebook, Huffington Post, New York Times, Union Leader, WMUR

Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: "Mad Men" or "Downton Abbey"

HOOKSETT — Despite a successful career in broadcast journalism, Maureen McDonald said she has no regrets leaving her TV producer job behind and becoming the director of community relations for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

"I think I had an 'Aha' moment looking at the stats. In New Hampshire one in four women has been sexually assaulted at one point in their lives, and one in three has been a victim of an assault by an intimate partner. So prevalent is this problem we don't even see it for what it is, and we know from the research we did in New Hampshire a few years ago that it does impact everyone. If you are not a victim, odds are you still know one, so this should be on the forefront of everyone's mind. And I think these are highly preventable problems," McDonald said.

McDonald, who lives in Hooksett with her husband and two children, went to Trinity College and then received her master's degree in broadcast journalism at Boston University. McDonald left her job as the 5 p.m. news producer for Channel 9 news in 2006 to join the CADSV despite the uncertainty of how long funding for the position would last and the fact it was only a 30-hour-a-week job.

"I have always been interested in social justice and nonprofits, and I have experience working with nonprofits, and one day I found that (the CADSV) was looking for a public relations coordinator, which seemed like a good fit with my background. It turned out to be a great decision," McDonald said.

"Now I am the community relations director, and the job has grown from 30 hours a week to however many I can squeeze in. I do a combination of communications work and fundraising. I do public relations, I help with the website and social media. Basically anything communications-related coming out of this office."

McDonald said that the CADSV serves as the umbrella organization for 14 separate crisis centers located around the state.

"Centers like these are necessary; we served over 16,000 people last year, and we know a lot of people never even come to the centers for help. Part of my job is to make sure that I beat the drum and let any victim know we are here 24 hours a day seven days a week and it is free. Sometimes people just need to talk, but sometimes they need a place to stay, and we can help plan for their safety," McDonald said.

She sees the biggest problem facing New Hampshire as domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. "You cannot meet one person who isn't impacted by one of these issues, whether it be a loved one, a family member, or a friend who has been impacted."

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