Paying it Forward: Jim West

Volunteer of the WeekName: Jim West

Current employer or place of business: Jim West Commercial Real Estate – Coldwell Banker Commercial – Jenkins & Associates

Organization(s) I currently volunteer with: Greater Vancouver Chamber, Small Business Resources Committee; Southwest Washington Contractors Association Board; Clark County Skills Center Foundation Board; City of Vancouver Parking Advisory Committee; Greater Clark County Rotary Foundation; Leadership Clark County Social Services Session Curriculum Team. I also spent several years on the Clark County Family YMCA Board of Managers and on the Daybreak Youth services Board.

How I got involved: It’s different with every organization, but usually I’ve had a relationship with a key volunteer, member or executive prior to getting active.

Why I give back: I grew up with parents and grandparents who modeled the way that you need to get involved with your community. I have an early childhood memory of my mom slicing a bunch of cabbage for coleslaw for some kind of fundraising picnic, and going to the dedication of Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona where my grandmother was on the Parks Board. Volunteering is what creates the bonds of the community.

Proudest moment as a volunteer: I hadn’t thought about this, but one for certain was being named the Rotarian of the Year by my Rotary club in 2013 for my work as membership chair. I would say a second one was being selected by my Leadership Clark County class as their graduation speaker. These were nice as we all appreciate getting some acknowledgement for our contributions.

Something I accomplished that probably only I recognize, was being a member of an organization that was about to make a huge mistake with a major decision. I was able to raise some key issues in the conversation, rally some like-minded team members and set them back on the right course.

What local challenge or issue are you most passionate about? I’ve always been very passionate about youth and young people. There are so many ways kids can get off track, and so many ways we can have an impact and change lives. Both the YMCA and Daybreak are right in the thick of that, as Rotary is as well. The Skills Center serves youth a bit further up the age range. I always hear an old Y camp yell: For guidance of our youth, build character and truth! Funny what sticks with you.

Just for fun: What are your hidden talents? It depends on whether you’re talking about talents like performing (music, dance, paint, art, etc.) or technical talents and skills. I have always considered myself not talented. You could probably have that confirmed by my wife or kids, or anyone who’s seen me in a Zumba class (only 2 times). I have some athletic talents – was a decent basketball player. I have an aptitude and positive response to exercise, so I am a triathlete, and discovered I have capacity to walk long distances with 26 pounds on my back.

My real talents lie in being a good listener, being able to read situations and people and build trust with them.

“Paying it Forward: Volunteer Businessperson of the Week” is sponsored by Pacific Continental Bank.

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