Michael Durbin: Turning Inspiration and Personal Connections Into Philanthropy
Over the past 4 years Michael Durbin, chief strategy officer, chief inspiration officer and co-CEO at Manchu Times Fashion, has inspired Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Mr. Durbin and his company provide sponsorship to our annual gala, the Butterfly Ball, and donate auction items. Mr. Durbin lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, but that didn’t stop him from donating his time and talent to the 2015 gala, held in Philadelphia, as a co-chair. Mr. Durbin learned about LBBC through Donna Noce Colaco, president of White House Black Market, one of Manchu Times Fashion’s clients and LBBC’s most generous corporate supporter for almost a decade. Ms. Colaco’s passion for LBBC motivated Mr. Durbin to learn more. Mr. Durbin spoke with LBBC’s vice president of advancement, Sandra E. Martin, about himself and his experience getting to know us:
Sandra: What does it mean to be a “chief inspiration officer” for Manchu Times Fashion?
Mr. Durbin: The “inspiration” part of my title comes from the unique nature of our organization. We have a very supportive environment, with management staff in place for an average of well over 20 years. We have found that creating an inspiring environment results in remarkable outcomes for our retail partners and for our team. It is one large family, with the management having made career-length commitments to one another.
Sandra: How did you come to know Ms. Colaco? How did she inspire you to get to know LBBC?
Mr. Durbin: We met Donna Noce Colaco through business. Donna is an exceptional business leader and we’ve been privileged to get more than a glimpse into her special soul. No doubt her passionate and committed nature has made her the great leader she is. Donna’s commitment to LBBC intrigued us, so my colleague N Baranes and I attended LBBC’s gala in 2014. We had experienced Donna’s passion for business and, from the way she spoke about LBBC, we knew there had to be something very special happening in this organization.
Donna’s remarks that evening were about her father and a family member who was lost to breast cancer. She spoke about how they inspired her commitment to LBBC, and her words touched us deeply.
Sandra: From there, how did your relationship with LBBC evolve?
Mr. Durbin: The year after we attended, LBBC asked N and I to co-chair the 2015 gala, where Donna would be honored. We both felt very privileged. First, LBBC does such valuable and inspiring work that just being associated with the organization was a gift. Second, Donna is someone who would never seek recognition, but here LBBC was presenting her with the Founders Award, their highest honor, which she so richly deserved. Co-chairing was our opportunity to do whatever we could to make the evening successful for LBBC and memorable for Donna.
As with LBBC’s work, and, indeed, all charity work, great commitments to larger causes stem from the personal commitments of individuals to each other. We are inspired by LBBC on many different levels, and we are delighted to support its work.