There is a saying that goes something like: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day.” That is how I feel about my nine years with United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. When you are passionate about the cause, and work with bright, fun, committed people who you respect, then life is indeed very good.
I fully expected to stay in this job I love for many more years, but a looming empty nest and my husband’s long commute to Lexington every day changed the equation. Beginning February 9, I will be the Assistant Director for Programs and Conferences at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics. In tying up nine years of work here, I’ve had time to reflect on what a special experience it has been.
For me, our United Way is the amazing staff and very engaged board members I’ve worked with every day. It is also the many, many relationships we have in this community with people who work at other nonprofits, schools and businesses. This organization is never satisfied with the status quo, and is constantly trying to find the most efficient, effective and practical ways to address many needs in this community. That is what makes it so dynamic – we embrace change and are always looking forward.
Charlottesville is blessed to have so many caring and committed people working in the nonprofit sector, and I am proud to have been associated with an organization that accomplishes so much by collaborating with so many people. I cherish the many relationships I have made through our deep roots in this community.
I am going to miss my United Way family. My own sons have grown up volunteering here – from helping with our office clean up days and dump runs with our pickup truck, to happily driving golf carts all day when we held our golf tournament. Our office is the definition of a family friendly employer – we have had 4 “office babies” come to work with their mothers during my time here. “Family first” is the motto that takes much stress away when dealing with ailing parents or sick kids.
I’m pretty proud to have led our United Way Day of Caring this past year, and also of the ongoing legacy of our Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair, which started as my Leadership Charlottesville team project six years ago. We’ve done so many fun things over my years here – including a one–time appearance in the Dogwood Festival Parade as the United Way Segway Drill Team! I love planning and running special events like these, which is why I was attracted to my new position at VMI.
If you find yourself in Lexington, look me up. If you are a history buff, it is a great place to visit – the town, VMI and Washington and Lee are all steeped in history. I would love to show you around!
It has been a wonderful ride!
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