Brittany Charboneau races a marathon

Closed Doors, Opened Hearts

Closed Doors, Opened Hearts: How Otters Learn Through Volunteer Programs
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“closed2open is an opportunity to bring your skills to bear and not be confident going in, but believing that you're going to be adequate to help in some way,” said Kyle Pettine, Otter Products COO.


Brittany Charboneau shows off her marathon medal

Volunteering is a great way for people to get out of their element. When an entire company jumps out of their day-to-day to volunteer, it takes a lot of heart and coordination to make an impact. For Otter Products, the closed2open volunteer program is a symbol of closing our doors to open our hearts, one day a year, to make change in schools and nonprofit organizations and to inspire change in ourselves through corporate volunteering.

As part of closed2open, Kyle Pettine, Otter Products COO, was asked to join Pretty Brainy, a Fort Collins, Colo. nonprofit, for a strategic operations meeting, or StratOp, as an executive sponsor of the event. When he entered the room, he wasn’t sure what to expect or how to help.

“I really didn't have broad exposure to the StratOp as a process,” Pettine said. “And what I realized, because it was glaringly obvious, is I was the only guy in the room. And the board of Pretty Brainy is not only made up of extraordinary women, it's made up of women with a totally different life experience than mine.”

The day closed2open is a symbol of closing our doors to open our hearts to make change in schools and non-profit organizations and to inspire change in ourselves.

Pretty Brainy strives to empower young women ages 10 to 18 by recognizing them as thinkers, problem-solvers, leaders and innovators by providing growth opportunities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).

Gear for a marathon

“The Otters have been so tremendously generous in offering us StratOp sessions, where we brought together in the room board members as well as girls on our leadership team and really advanced how Pretty Brainy was going to become a sustainable 501(c)3 nonprofit,” said Heidi Olinger, Pretty Brainy Founder & CEO.

From Pretty Brainy to schools and other nonprofits, the closed2open volunteer program gives Otters an opportunity to go out and learn something new and open our hearts to the community.

“closed2open is an opportunity to bring your skills to bear and not be confident going in, but believing that you're going to be adequate to help in some way,” Pettine said. “But on that day, in particular, your best self can come out and it may surprise you what you get out of it.”

Learn more about closed2open and the volunteering stories of other Otters here.

Brinlee climbs a rock wall above his raft