Why I Volunteer: Expanding My Career and Fulfilling My Passion
In the words of the great Bono, “when the story of these times gets written, we want to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined” – a motto I always strive to live by both personally and professionally.
After working in the not-for-profit world for many years, one of the key elements I sought in a new career opportunity was an organization that is truly part of our community. Sure, many companies are willing to strike a check to have their logo branded alongside a feel-good organization (which is terrific), but I needed more. I was in search of a company committed to corporate citizenship, with corporate social responsibility ingrained in its mission, its everyday values and truly part of its culture.
And I’m not alone; nearly two-thirds of young professionals say they would prefer to work for a company that provides opportunities to serve in the community, per a 2016 Volunteer IMPACT Survey.
The decision to leave the not-for-profit world wasn’t an easy one. Up to that point, my entire career was completely focused on making an impact. I was easily able to see the difference made through the eyes of a Youth Ambassador speaking out in front of others about his struggles with diabetes for the first time or seeing a someone who had lived with the disease their entire life cross the finish line of a 100-mile bike ride – an accomplishment they were told they’d never be able to do.
I first stumbled upon DHG when I was working with the American Diabetes Association. DHG was an active team for both our walk and cycling events and one of the partners served on our Leadership Board. As I was working the ADA cycling event, I noticed that the DHG team seemed more like a work family and less like the stereotypical “corporate America” firms that tend to get a bad rap. Partners were riding alongside associates and interns, and family members who came out to cheer all seemed to know each other, as well.
I thought to myself, “wow, this is somewhere I could see myself.” I would be able to expand my career without losing the ability to fulfill my passion to make a difference.
After joining the DHG team, I was very quickly exposed to the many opportunities DHG afforded me to be involved in our community. One of the first big initiatives I experienced as a DHG team member was an annual holiday toy drive. I thought I had never seen so many toys – until a Partner opened a door to an empty office FULL of toys he had been collecting for months!
Recently, our entire firm participated in National Go Red for Women Day for the American Heart Association. It was an amazing feeling going home that night and seeing my Facebook and Twitter feeds full of smiling DHG team members in red saying “so proud of my office today,” “I wear red for my dad,” and “supporting Go Red for Women with DHG Impact.”
In addition to firm-wide initiatives such as Count the Cans, which supports local food banks and Chuck the Cup on Earth Day, our local office supports and participates in events such as the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure, Neptune Festival, CPA Day of Service, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Miracle Jeans Day, Hampton Roads Corporate Volunteer Council and many others.
Shelby is the marketing coordinator for the Hampton Roads market. She also serves as the office DHG Impact champion. She is an active member of the American Diabetes Association’s Young Professionals Leadership Council and the Hampton Roads Corporate Volunteer Council. Her Life Beyond Numbers includes volunteering, running, going to local festivals, and spending time with family and friends – including her two very active dogs!