Emerging Leaders Volunteer Panel - Our Local Community Game Changers

On Thursday, March 30th the United Way hosted a group of Emerging Leaders for a Volunteer Leadership Panel. During this time the group had the opportunity to connect with local Community Game Changers about maximizing their volunteer experience both in their work place and personal life. These panelists each brought a different perspective when it comes to volunteering in our community. The panelist were:

Sandra Roers, Roers “Board Leadership / Strategic Volunteering”
John Fisher, CHARISM “You Value in the Community”
Lucas Moran, John Deere Electronic Solutions “Emerging Leader Perspective”
Denise Kolpack, Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND “Volunteerism in Company Culture’”


During this time Emerging Leaders were able to ask their burning questions when it comes to volunteering. In this blog, we are highlighting some of the insightful answers that these Community Game Changers provided.

Sandra Roers, Roers

Board Leadership / Strategic Volunteering
Q.  What would you say is one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started your first board position?
A.  As Emerging Leaders you will get invited to be on a lot of boards. When you are asked research that board—find out what its goals are and what level of participation you will be committing to, because it is a commitment. If it is not something you are really passionate about don’t join it, and when you join a board be there—show up and do the work!

John Fisher, CHARISM

You Value in the Community
Q: What is some advice you can give regarding finding “your right fit” when it comes to volunteering?
A:  To answer this one must be pretty introspective. I say that because of this. We have to open our eyes, and open our hearts. When you open your eyes, you will see a lot. All of a sudden a building becomes an opportunity to help, a person becomes more than a random face but a fellow human being in need of you. When you open your heart, you allow the deep, lasting things to happen. Think of all the things/people you have opened your heart to. Those experiences and relationships last a lifetime. When you open your heart to the people and situations that need you, you then find that….you needed them as well.

Lucas Moran, John Deere Electronic Solutions

Emerging Leader Perspective
Q: How have you found utilizing your skills and talents to be beneficial when volunteering?
A:  When I volunteer I like to help others and so for me that is my skill, the ability to help someone in need. That for me is the best way approach anything and if it requires a skill set I don’t have then I surround myself with others who can teach me the skills I need to be successful in that task.

Denise Kolpack, Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND 

Volunteerism in Company Culture
Q: Many could argue that implementing a giving culture across a company as large as Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND could be challenging. What strategies has Blue Cross Blue Shield utilized to implement and maintain this culture?
A: Our volunteer program grew organically out of our employers volunteering in the community over many years. It was an opportunity when we were differentiating ourselves from some new competition in town. We realized that one of our advantages is that we are local and our mission is to serve North Dakotans. So, it was time that we formalized our volunteer program. Last year, we introduced a formalized volunteer program were each employee has 16 hours on company time to volunteer of an organization, and we actually capture that information in our payroll system. We then highlight those volunteer efforts in a number of ways, both internally and externally. I’m very proud of the fact that this grew from employee engagement.

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