April 15, 2013
This post is by guest author Michele Hush, who serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Kellen Company’s client, New York Women in Communications (NYWICI). In her day job, Michele is Chief Storyteller, Internal Communications at Thomson Reuters.
Want to get involved in an organization like Michele has? Now’s the time! It’s National Volunteer Week so find a way to get involved in something you feel passionate about.
My first exposure to New York Women in Communications came in 1996, when my then-manager, an ad agency EVP who was a NYWICI board member, took me to the Matrix Awards. I was genuinely dazzled to see so many accomplished women honoring still more accomplished women.
When I started freelancing in 2006, I decided to become a member myself, and I soon volunteered to work on the Integrated Marketing Communications committee. My initial motivation was to meet women in my field who shared my belief that women should help other women. Over time I met dozens of those women and gained the experience of writing for all of NYWICI’s publications – interviewing stellar women for the Matrix Journal, writing brief updates for the NYWICI Now e-newsletter, eventually founding the Aloud blog.
Why should someone volunteer? Here are some of my reasons.
- Networking – You meet people from different parts of your industry and learn about what they do in a non-competitive environment.
- It’s a reality check– Working with seasoned professionals quickly tells you how good you are, where you need to improve and what you need to learn more about.
- Instant gratification – People are generous with praise. When they appreciate your efforts, they tell you so.
- It’s a learning experience – You constantly meet people with expertise in different specializations; if you open your mind to new things, you benefit greatly.
- Inspiration – People who volunteer, including the young women just starting their careers, are so impressive, they drive me to do more.
- Most of all – It’s good for the spirit. People give their time and expertise generously and unconditionally to further the goals of the organization. They may be ambitious professionals at the office, but they are selfless when it comes to supporting their profession and colleagues at different stages of their careers. In the case of NYWICI, it is a privilege to be surrounded by so many smart women who are helping other women develop their careers.