At the April “Think + a Drink” series, United Way Young Leaders discussed “Cultivating Community Leadership through Volunteerism.” The theme that emerged during the evening was that the speakers all shared a passion and commitment to making an impact in the Richmond and Petersburg region. Volunteer service not only makes an impact in our community, but it can also help early to mid-career professionals grow as community leaders by cultivating the awareness, skills, and recognition needed to propel their passion and career.
Awareness: Kelsey Morem, Sr. Account Manager at Cargill, shared her experience serving as a Cash Coach with the United Way MetroCash program. Through this program, 216 volunteers prepared tax returns for community members, who on average made $19,677 last year. As a result, an estimated $4.3 million dollars was returned to our community in saved tax prep fees, Earned Income Tax Credits, and tax refunds. Trained Cash Coaches volunteered at the MetroCash sites to link community members to other financial stability resources. Kelsey noted, “I don’t feel like I could serve on a board or be a really impactful leader without first having learned about the challenges and the solutions in my community.”
Leadership Skills: Damon Jiggetts is an impactful and recognized community leader, serving as the Executive Director of the Peter Paul Development Center. He shared powerful stories about how being a volunteer and mentor helped him further develop as leader in our community. From mentoring to serving on non-profit committees, there are many ways volunteering can help you build leadership skills.
Recognition and Connections: Shannon Venable was an executive at Dominion and a volunteer leader with the United Way Women’s Leadership Council and other organizations working in early childhood education. Her volunteer efforts helped her become a recognized community leader in that space and ultimately make a career transition to being the President & CEO of the Children’s Museum of Richmond. As Shannon shared, “Volunteering expands your personal networks. Someone sitting next to you tonight could be that needed connection for you.”
Do you want to learn about our community, build leadership skills and become a recognized community leader? Check out pictures from the “Think + a Drink” and join our movement of early to mid-career professionals who are making an impact by giving, connecting, serving and leading with the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg.