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Maggie Bahler, Gilda’s Club Chicago

Published on 02/13/2018

Maggie BahlerWhat is your life’s purpose?
My life’s purpose is to bring my energy and passion to my work, my friendships, and my daily life.

How are you living your purpose?
I lead the marketing and communications efforts for a free cancer support community (NPO), Gilda’s Club Chicago, whose goal is to make sure that no one has to face cancer alone. Gilda’s Club offers more than 300 free activities per month at the downtown Clubhouse and four other satellite locations, plus schools, workplaces, and faith communities in the Chicagoland area. They welcome those who have been diagnosed with cancer themselves, as well as their family, friends, and caretakers – including men, women, teens, and children – as well as those who have lost someone to cancer.

How did you find your purpose?
I spent a lot of time in corporate America (and Canada) and finally landed at a company that was very mission-driven, but it still wasn’t quite the right fit. When I left there, I knew I wanted to enter the non-profit world and truly give back. A few years before being hired at the cancer support organization where I work, I lost one of my best friends to cancer. Remembering her struggle through that process, I knew this was the right opportunity for me.

At Bulls game

At Bulls game

What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
Think about what you love to do, who has influenced you, and how they found their path. Ask people close to you for feedback about your skills and talents and think about ways to use those for a higher purpose. Most importantly, pay attention to what makes your eyes light up or makes you squeal with delight.

What resources do you recommend?
One of the best books about cancer support is Gilda Radner’s memoir, It’s Always Something. She brings a fresh, humorous perspective to her journey and also advocates for the work we do. Another good book is Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer by Antoinette Truglio Martin.

I’m also passionate about branding and marketing. There are lots of great books about both those topics.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Wearing my Gilda Radner cycling jersey

Wearing my Gilda Radner cycling jersey


Connect with Maggie Bahler
Email: maggiebahler@att.net
Gilda’s Club Chicago

Maggie Bahler earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Communications from the University of Michigan. She joined Gilda’s Club Chicago in 2013, after more than 20 years of marketing experience with for-profit businesses. Prior to joining GCC, she was a regional marketing director for Whole Foods Market and she also worked in retail, financial, and pharma marketing. Maggie is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada and an avid cyclist.

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE Courses, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.



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1 Comment

  1. Beth Havey

    My husband has a form of leukemia which has allowed him to go on living, but obviously the specter on cancer is always there. Gilda was an inspiration and I lost one of my best friends to ovarian cancer. I think each and every one of us has been touched my cancer in some way and I thank you for this post today. In my own small way I have been an advocate for my husband, but reaching out to others is, well, AWESOME.


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