Current employer or place of business: The Upkes Group, Inc.
Organization(s) I volunteer with: Rotary Club of Vancouver
How I got involved: For over 30 years I worked at the American Red Cross. I was able to work alongside volunteers, board members and staff to help provide amazing services to those in need. But whatever I did, it was always considered “work.” Then came along Rotary. In the beginning of my 25 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver, I got involved because three of my board members said it would be a good idea. I stayed in the club because it gave me the chance to give back to my community as a volunteer. To work alongside incredible people who all have the same goal as I do: service. I enjoy that Rotary is a worldwide organization, as well as local and national.
Why I give back: I believe everyone has something to give. There are so many causes out there that need leadership, volunteers to help deliver services, strategic thinkers, ambassadors of all kinds. I understand the financial limits nonprofits have, and their dependency on community advocates to help advance their cause. I enjoy being able to help in a meaningful way for Rotary, and Rotary gives me opportunities to give back in ways that resonates with me.
Proudest moment as a volunteer: I’ve been a part of our Vancouver Rotary Foundation’s Festival of Trees since its inception. This year marks our 20th year. It’s a year-long planning session that culminates on Thanksgiving weekend. It has been incredibly rewarding to see how the community has embraced the festival.
What local challenge or issue are you most passionate about? Rotary is a great conduit for me to address local issues. Right now, it’s the Santa Clothes program (shopping at JC Penney with at-risk kids for winter clothing).
Just for fun: What are your hidden talents? When I have felt creative, I have knitted/felted purses and hats. I’m also a great cheerleader for people who participate in water sports (because I do NOT participate – spectator only). I have two harps in my dining room. I used to play (though not very well) and have learned that I do not perform. This time of year my favorite thing to do is play duets on the piano of holiday music with my daughters.
“Paying it Forward: Volunteer Businessperson of the Week” is sponsored by Pacific Continental Bank.