Since I was a teen, I’ve been involved in some form of volunteer work. And, growing up in a single-family household with a mother who did not drive, I also benefited from volunteers. Today, I am especially passionate about volunteering and believe volunteers can make a difference in our communities.
As the Maryland Regional President for Wells Fargo, I have found that the key to getting my team to volunteer is to set an example. When I believe in a cause and am passionate about volunteering, it creates an infectious environment. In four years my team has been able to renovate a Baltimore City Recreation Center, improve a school’s early learning center, and renovate a homeless shelter for teenagers. This year, we helped to create a community vegetable garden and park for residents of a poor community in Baltimore.
I find it an invaluable experience as I learn a lot, especially about those I do not interact with daily. The team feels good about the work, teamwork is strengthened, and we form new relationships. I become not just “the boss,” but another worker covered in paint or mud. I learn how I am perceived as a leader, and what I can do to improve. It’s a humbling, yet worthwhile experience. At the end of every project, the volunteers ask the same question: “When is our next project?”
Many non-profits in the Baltimore area need volunteers. I would encourage any senior leader who is looking for ways to learn about him/herself, while accomplishing good in the community where their businesses operate, to work with local non-profits and organize some volunteer activities. I’m sure you will find, as I have, that it is mutually beneficial for you, your company, AND the community!