Organizations: Fenton Athletic Association, Millstadt Chamber of Commerce and Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation
Volunteer Service: Since 2013
What is your current community involvement?
I have been a pee wee soccer coach with the Fenton Athletic Association for about a year and a half. I started when my son was first able to play. This has included organizing practice, managing the team and being on the field during games. Since I started at Associated Bank six years ago, I have served on the board for the Millstadt Chamber of Commerce, where I am currently vice president and treasurer. For the past four years, I’ve been volunteering with the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation to lead their financial education programs. I also chair the Southern Illinois committee for Associated Bank’s annual United Way campaign.
How did you first get involved in your community?
I’ve been involved in the community as long as I’ve been with Associated Bank. Someone once said to me, “your branch can only be as strong as the community you serve,” and that has stuck with me. It’s hard to be successful if the community you serve is not doing well. As a result, I’ve tried to get involved as much as possible. Plus, I enjoy meeting people. Being active in the community helps you get to know others and opens the door for candid conversations about finances when they come into the branch.
What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?
It’s very rewarding to see people make positive changes after working with you. It’s great to see children learn a new soccer move and perform it during a game, or adults take financial literacy concepts and apply them to their life. Working one on one with individuals, I can tell I am making a difference.
Can you share a memorable experience with us?
I remember when my son scored his first soccer goal. He dribbled the ball down the field, passing a few defenders and shot it right into the net. It’s such a great feeling to be up close with him and his team during these experiences, which is much different than watching from the bleachers.
What have you been able to learn about your community?
I teach financial literacy classes at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation. I’ve always found it interesting because I am working on my MBA and can relate with the students on a different level. I enjoy learning and I want to pass that on to others. Gaining knowledge is always beneficial, especially when it comes to financial literacy. Understanding how to budget and manage your finances really impacts what you’re able to do and accomplish.
How do you feel volunteering has changed you as a person?
Volunteering in a city with low- to-moderate income individuals, you see how some people struggle. It makes you more empathetic toward other’s situations and broadens your perspective. Personally, it has been a growth opportunity to be involved in the community. I find that any time I volunteer I learn something about others and myself.
Why is it important to give back to the communities we serve?
It’s important because you’re not going to be successful if your community is not successful. Beyond that, you have to give before you can receive—it’s a philosophy I follow. You can make such a difference just by being out there and helping others.
What advice would you give other colleagues looking to start volunteering?
You don’t have to volunteer a lot to make drastic changes in your community. A little bit of your time can make a big impact, even if it’s just for one person. You’re making a difference and that’s what is most important.