Cure SMA’s Jesse Aynes & Kyle Houlihan join the podcast to discuss how their team is working to cultivate profound connections between the Walk-n-Roll community and their mission.

It seems obvious that peer-to-peer fundraising events would be designed with the organization’s missions in mind.

However, amidst the critical logistics decisions, competing messaging priorities and the influence of multiple stakeholders, prioritizing a mission-centric approach can inadvertently take a back seat.

In this episode, Cure SMA’s Jesse Aynes & Kyle Houlihan join P2PPF’s Marcie Maxwell for a conversation on the importance of leading with a mission-first strategy. Kyle & Jesse will share how their team is expanding the Walk-n-Roll community by engaging direct mission providers and tell the story of how they launched a new on-site mission experience – and what they learned from it.

In this episode, we’ll also explore:
– The importance of a consistent branding & mission experience – and the distinction between the two
– How their program is evolving to meet the needs and share the stories of the SMA community
– The full-circle impact of the Walk-n-Roll program on Cure SMA’s mission

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Podcast Guests

Jesse Aynes

Vice President of Development & Events, Cure SMA

Jesse is currently the Vice President of Development & Events at Cure SMA. He joined the organization in 2020 and spearheads the organization’s development strategy, prioritizing the crucial mission of finding a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Under his strategic leadership, he is responsible for revenue generation within the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, Distinguished Events, and Corporate Engagement programs. Jesse adds a unique perspective to his role, enhancing community engagement and driving positive change through both internal and external collaboration. Jesse’s extensive experience is underscored by his previous oversight of Distinguished Events at the National MS Society, where he honed his skills in non-profit development, board relations, and volunteer management.
Jesse holds a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago. He currently resides in Nashville, TN, and is an avid traveler, a fitness enthusiast, and a big foodie.

Kyle Houlihan

Director of Development & Events, Cure SMA

Kyle, a Chicago native now residing in San Diego, embodies a lifelong commitment to fundraising through walk programs. His journey began as a Walk Team Captain at 11 years old, setting the stage for a career dedicated to navigating the diverse scale of walk events — from intimate backyard DIY walks to sprawling citywide spectacles boasting over 10,000 participants. As the Director of Development – Events at Cure SMA, Kyle oversees Cure SMA’s Walk-n-Roll program. He firmly believes in the transformative power of relationships, fundraising, and collective action.

Aside from fundraising, Kyle’s passions extend to gummy candies, his French Bulldog Whittaker, and doom-scrolling Twitter.

Podcast Host


Marcie Maxwell

Managing Director, Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

Marcie Maxwell is the Managing Director of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. Marcie joined the P2PPF team in 2021 after 15+ years as a front-line fundraiser, national events & campaign director and fundraising consultant. In her role, Marcie serves as a primary thought leader and community builder for the peer-to-peer fundraising industry. She started her career in fundraising with 10+ years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she ran local fundraising events, managed national volunteer partnerships and launched their national walk program. She then spent 5+ years as the Director of Chapter Fundraising Events with Make-A-Wish America, where she provided strategy, support & training to 60 chapters on the full event portfolio – walks, school fundraising, an endurance hiking program and galas & social events. In her most recent role at Charity Dynamics, she partnered with clients to provide strategic guidance and analysis to help them optimize and grow their peer-to-peer fundraising events & campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in Ethical Leadership from Christian Brothers University. She resides in Memphis, TN.