The Spirit of Volunteerism
- Linda continuously asks herself the question, “Where can I shine a light for others?”
- She is the programme manager for the Lean In Circles at Ellucian, as well as part of the group that organises Socks for the Season.
- Her participation in volunteer events at Ellucian has allowed her to foster engagement and professional development, eliminate departmental silos, and open opportunities for global learning.
Amartya Sen, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, notes that, “Empowering women is key to building a future we want,” while Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, says, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”
Surprisingly, I believe there is no single path for us to support and empower our peers and the next generation of women seeking to shatter the glass ceiling. Nor does one road lead the way for volunteering. However, as I reflect on my journey, I treasure my grandparents who instilled in me the vision and value of giving to others. For me, the critical question is this: What path do I follow and where can I shine a light for others?
The past president of the West Chester University Alumni Association provided me with the opportunity to co-chair our alumni scholarship committee. Scholarships support academically talented college students to help them fund their education, which allows them to focus on their studies rather than working extra hours. Subsequently, I was invited to advise a student organisation in which college women contributed over 2,000 hours of community service every year. This organisation is steeped in a tradition of sharing their time and talents for the betterment of others—and it was the perfect match for my belief in “making a life for what we give.”
More recently, my path of “giving, mentoring, and leading” at Ellucian has allowed me to co-facilitate a Lean In Circle and serve as the programme manager for this initiative. The ability to drive continuous success has allowed a small group of like-minded, passionate women to manage a holiday programme called “Socks for the Season,” in which employees collect and donate over 4,000 pairs of socks to shelters throughout the U.S.
My passion for volunteer initiatives was established four years ago when I mentored women leaders at my undergraduate alma mater throughout their last year in college. It was a privilege to share the profound passion of these college women and other mentors.
Ellucian has “turned on a light,” creating a platform for my passion and ability to support the growth of others to flourish. My focus has been targeted toward empowering women of all ages to be successful. While the mantra “Empowered women empower other women” may seem cliché, it is the driving force and underpinning of the volunteer initiatives I have been involved with throughout my career. I’ve been blessed to meet so many new people along this journey.
I have learned that when you empower yourself and others with positivity, passion, and purpose, the doors of opportunity will open. Most recently, the Customer Success Employee Engagement group under the leadership of Chris Holm was launched. The Great Places to Work initiative allowed me to reflect on my experiences and to further develop programmes supporting the Customer Experience and Global Support teams. My participation allows me to work with Ellucian team members to foster engagement and professional development, eliminate departmental silos, and open opportunities for global learning.
Diving into each initiative has allowed me to acquire new skills, grow my platform, and to inspire others to do the same. Most importantly, these initiatives have helped others and initiated a positive influence in their lives—and in turn, I am honored for the impact that I have in these interactions.