She is the co-founder and executive director behind EndCan, the national foundation to end child abuse, based right here in Denver, Colorado.
I got to spend some time with Lori and her family during her personal branding photo sessions. With each interaction, I became more and more convinced that Lori is the sweetest person I have ever met.
She is also one of the busiest. Balancing her many roles - as mother of 3, business owner, motivational speaker, and author - with grace and an always-present smile (even when she wasn't in front of the camera!)
Lori wanted an album full of diverse branding images that she could use for many different purposes. We worked together to design 3 distinct photo shoots, each with its own wardrobe, activities, and expressions. This made it look like her photos were taken over many different days and locations.
Our goal was to capture Lori's strength and powerful presence, while at the same expressing her joyous personality and the activities shes values most. To really bring out Lori's personality, I had her in her natural settings, in comfortable poses, interacting in ways that come naturally.
Check out a sneak peak of Lori's new brand photos and the details of her story below.
Kasey: Tell me about what you do
Lori: I am the co-founder and executive director of EndCAN, the first and only national foundation to end child abuse and neglect. That means I have all the roles and responsibilities of a business owner combined with the tasks of actually spreading our message and getting the word out.
There are many organizations out there helping nearly all causes that effect children and families - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes to name a few. They focus on education, prevention, advocacy and research to help their issue improve, but there is nothing like that at all to improve child abuse and neglect, or to prevent it.
If we were to look at every mass shooter since Columbine, nearly every single one of them has a history of abuse. We don’t know how to help each other and what works. When someone is suffering and being abused, we often don’t know what to do for them. I think it’s time for that to change.
I truly believe that we can create a world where the 3.5 million+ children who are born each year live an abuse-free life.
Kasey: What a great goal, how will you get there?
Lori: There’s a lot to be done. And it’s exciting. We started 2 years ago and we are inundated with excited people who are happy that we exist and are excited to work with us. It’s going to take a lot of fundraising, resources, time and commitment. It’s also going to take a lot of voices to come together and say “I want every adult and every child in my neighborhood to be abuse free.”
The four pillars that have been successful for other organizations are: research, prevention, education and training, and advocacy. It’s kind of a like a 4-legged chair, you need all 4 legs to be stable. First, you have to get people to feel okay with talking about child abuse.
I travel all over the country talking to people and asking them to join the conversation and bring kindness to their own communities. I try to use humor and authenticity to let them know that it’s just our lives. What we do with them is up to us. I’m also working with advertising firms to create nation-wide campaigns to help get our message out.
Parents are so afraid to talk about abuse. We’re afraid and shameful that we could have, might have, or already have hurt our children. Even if we have, there’s always room for change. It’s never too late. An apology can go a long way. Accountability can really create a change in a relationship.
My kids are 12, 10 and 6. They’re all crazy old souls and all three are ridiculously intuitive. Of course, they have two parents who are therapists, so that’s what you get. When my middle daughter was four, she kept going “mom, mom, mom, mom, mom”. On the 18th “mom”, I finally growled “what!?”. She said “you know, if you would have answered me in the first couple of times you wouldn’t be upset right now”.
She just called me to the floor. She was like “I need you to be present and I need you to hear what I’m saying. And I’m four.” My kids do that to me all the time.
And they’re also kind to me. If I’m having a rough day or I mess up, they’re graceful with me and they hold the space for me just as much as I try to do for them. They’re compassionate kids, even without expecting me to be on this mom pedestal that doesn’t even exist.
Kasey: Why are you getting personal brand photos now?
Lori: I think that when people see a business or organization online, they want to connect with who you are as a person. Your photograph is the first thing people see. I’ve seen a lot of photographers and I’ve seen some really good ones. But when I saw your photography, I didn’t see a photographer, I saw people.
There’s a huge difference between capturing a photo and capturing a human. I want people to know who I am as a human. I have my own insecurities about the way I look and I knew it would be a little bit of an uphill climb for me to feel comfortable with getting headshots yet again, but you nailed it.
I have done headshots about 8 times. Hands down, you are the number one photographer that I have experienced. Despite all those professional photo shoots, I’ve been using the same 2 headshots for the last 12 years. One of them was taken by a friend and the other was taken in somebody’s backyard. So the fact that you professionally nailed it makes me really happy and very, very grateful.
I plan on using these images to help people see who I am. I’ll use them for my book release, my movie release, branding, and my motivational speaking. They’ll be on flyers for the conferences across the country that I speak at. We’re also re-doing our website and these photos are going to help with all of that!
Kasey: Why is the EndCan mission so important to you?
Lori: Here’s the cliff notes version. At the age of 3, I was abducted from my front yard and taken to the mountains and severely abused before being put into an outhouse toilet, 15 feet below ground. I was left there for 4 days. And then I was finally reunited with my family.
I’ve experienced a lot of various types of abuse throughout a lot of my life. And yet, from as far back as I could possibly remember, I’ve known that I was put on this earth to be extremely intentional and to create the most amount of change and impact for people to be loving and kind, even when faced with adversity.
Overall, who I am as a human is one who is just trying to make a really good impact on the world. When it comes to my work, being a mother, being a friend and family member, I’m just trying to be kind and to give as much as I can to the world.
Kasey: How did you decide to start EndCan?
Lori: My mentor, Dr. Richard Krugman and I continued to have the same conversation over and over again about what was missing in the child abuse field. I’m such an optimistic person that I was constantly saying that what we don’t know is what DID work. There are millions of people out there who have been abused or bullied and are doing great. What we don’t know is WHY. What did they get that the people who went on to hurt other people didn’t get?
We don’t know the recipe to help people. Those who healed don’t talk about it. We just need to ask: what worked? Once we figure out what works, let’s do more of that. Let’s sprinkle that everywhere like fairy dust.
About 4 years ago, Dick Krugman and I decided to create EndCan to figure out that recipe and create change. Dick has been in the child abuse field for 50 years and is very, very passionate about it. He is my inspiration.
Dick is a magic maker. He’s a great thinker, he’s very funny and fun to work with. People say all the time, I can’t believe you do this work. But it’s amazing. I laugh every day at my job. I hear horrific stories, but I also see the change and I see how people make it out. It’s inspiring and supportive.
Some of my closest friends now are survivors all over this world who have reached out to me and we’re pen-pals. I have a pen pal in prison, I have a pen pal who’s a contractor in Arizona, and I have one over in Europe. It’s a village and we’re all working together. It’s going to take a lot of voices to create change, and Dick is a strong one. I’m just excited to be on the ride.
Kasey: What are you most excited about?
Lori: The most exciting thing right now is EndCan’s new campaign called Louder Than Silence. It is the most beautiful video. It encourages people to speak up and use their voice and be louder than silence, because silence is deadly.
We’re also launching our next fundraiser in September. Our goal is to raise 1.5 million dollars before the end of the year. One of the ways we plan to do that is by asking people across the country to have little parties. We’ll encourage people to host get-togethers with their friends and neighbors. It doesn’t matter how much or how little they raise, it’s just spreading awareness, so we can create community and influence conversation. We want people to know that child abuse is safe to talk about. When we feel safe with our friends, we feel more connected and more excited about life.
And on August 12, the Colorado Rockies are hosting EndCan, so a portion of the ticket sales will go to our foundation. We’ll also do some fundraising and crowd awareness for that event.
Learn more and how you can host your own party at www.endcan.org
Kasey: What else are you working on?
Lori: In addition to EndCan, I also do motivational speaking. I travel all over the country, hopefully inspiring people and encouraging them to be their best selves. I want to help them work through their pain and heal by talking and communicating and creating community. I also let them know that they matter.
I’m working on a book and I’m almost done with it! We’re hoping to do a survivor’s book release where 4 or 5 of us will all be releasing our books at the same time to create more of an impact with a larger voice.
I also have 2 people working on a screenplay for me and we’ll see how all of that goes! I’m okay with sharing my story and my experience with the world if it’s going to make more change and end abuse. I’ll keep at it until it happens.
Kasey: What do you like most about what you do?
Lori: I’m doing my dream job. And I get to change the world. Not many people can say that. I feel like it’s a little bit of a super power that somebody just gave me and I’m learning how to use it. It’s really, really cool and it’s something that I am so honored to have in my life.
I’ve been working in the mental health world for 21 years now. I’ve worked with children, adults, homeless, first-time moms, teenagers, severely mentally ill people – a really diverse population of people. My favorite thing about every single person is that at the end of the day, we’re all the same. At the end of the day, no matter how rich or how poor or how with or how without people are, we all just want to matter.
I’ve found through my work as a therapist that it’s not about what I learned in grad school – and the hundreds of thousands of dollars I paid, it’s more about making people feel like they matter. If I can do that and they can go back out into the world feeling like they matter to at least 1 person in the world – it doesn’t have to be a big list, it just needs to be one – then it’s empowering to all of us.
I know it’s all I want – for people to love me unconditionally and treat me kindly, even when I upset them. That is the summation of what I do. Both through the national foundation and as a clinician.
The Details Lori Poland
I'm Kasey, and I'm a different kind of photographer. I work with (often camera shy) entrepreneurs and business owners to help them stand out and attract the people they WANT to work with. If you'd like to learn more, shoot me a message below. I'd love to talk with you.
Or, check out my personal branding photo gallery to see more.
Sending good vibes and love!
- Kasey, Fractured Frame Photography