At some point in my early 20s I realized that I was the only student in the academic program at my university who was using my degree in my field of study. A few months prior to my graduation, I landed a position at the Boys & Girls Club of Union as the Aquatics/Athletic manager. For the first two or three years of my career there, I split my 10 to 12-hour days between the pool and the gym; working six days a week without a vacation. I not only loved my job. I lived my job.
Working to provide opportunities for at-risk young people to help them reach their full potential was a passion that I had discovered early on, and I was relentless in my efforts. I was rewarded daily with smiles and hugs from young Club members who were starving for attention, love, and encouragement, and in many cases, were counting on us to provide nourishment for their bodies, as well as their souls.
The Club provided them a safe place, caring adults, programs to advance their education, hone their artistic skills and develop their athletic abilities. Year after year, I loved hearing from the kids growing up around me about their achievements in school, on the court or in the art room and challenging them to stay focused on their future and goals.
Years later, when I would cross paths with these now adult Club members in a store or at an event or get a call out of the blue, and they would tell me of the life they had built, the honor they had received for their service during 911 or the new non-profit they started to help lift up other young black woman in business, I would beam with pride.
After 25 years with the Boys & Girls Clubs, it was time to move on and fortunately for me, I was led to Taft Communications, where I found people who shared my passion for meaningful work, and where company values such as integrity, diversity, and common sense, and priorities and practices such as family first, kindness, and gratitude, were consistent with mine. I realized this was a job where I could make a difference not just in a single societal issue or area of interest, but with many of the causes I cared about: health, education, social justice, and the environment.
At Taft, I now spend my days working with philanthropies and nonprofits who are promoting clean energy, health equity, substance abuse prevention, and immigrant rights. My colleagues and I help them understand their value, tell their story and lift up the work they are doing to change lives and change our world.
Our efforts to help dozens of individuals and organizations communicate the power and purpose of their work gives me that same sense of pride and satisfaction that I had with the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Among my responsibilities at Taft is talent recruitment, and as I talk to candidates from all generations and in all stages of their career, I often hear them express a desire to have purpose and meaning in their work and I can’t help but think how lucky am I to have had a career that has allowed me to do that, not once but twice?