2022 AL!VE Impact Award Recipients:
Emerging Leader Award
Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Agency
Since deciding to pursue volunteer administration as a career 3.5 years ago, I have continued professional development through a wide variety of means. Frequent webinars have been a great tool, given the struggles of gathering during Covid. I participate in regular conferences on volunteerism - and each conference that I speak at, I stay for the duration to hear from other speakers. These include TCVSL, the TFA's annual conference, and TCAD's monthly webinar series. In my volunteer leadership philosophy, continual growth, ongoing learning, and professional development are required in order to have more to give. Volunteer administration isn't a set skillset you can master and then check out mentally and go on autopilot. Leading volunteers is an adventure as well as a challenge, and a determination to continue learning for life is required to remain relevant in this important field.
Carol Emmert, CVA
Conner Prairie Museum, Inc.
It is important to me not only to show that I and my Volunteer Coordinator are professionals, but that other
organizations have Volunteer Administrators as well. I have hosted other Volunteer Managers here on the grounds, and as we walk the historic areas, we talk about the challenges and blessings of working with volunteers. My Volunteer Coordinator is amazing. We work as a team to cultivate, train, and encourage our volunteer crew. Showing our organization what our volunteers contribute, and how having professional leaders managing them provides even better engagement, has been a chief goal during 2022. After one year of attending our local association (CIAVA) I joined the board as a member-at-large. I realized that there are many young volunteer administrators in central Indiana, and I can share what I know to be a resource for others. I also talk frequently with other VA's about how to balance their department's needs with the goals of their organization.
The volunteer engagement field is so dynamic. I see the challenges the profession faces, like being seen clearly as a core strategic function within organizations, and in general the work to convey volunteerism as an indispensable means by which we impact our world. I want my colleagues to continue to facilitate meaningful volunteer experiences, cement the field's credibility in their spheres of influence, and grow the well-being of communities through service. In order to encourage and equip them, as well as spread an accurate message about the value of service, it is critical that I consistently learn about field innovations, processes, insights, etc. I'm unwilling to conjecture or be presumptuous about something so essential as volunteerism or volunteer administration; I must learn from experts and from my peers. These opportunities have also gifted me with rich fellowship and new and continuing relationships. To brainstorm and connect with individuals who have a passion for service is refreshing and very dear to my heart. I also absorb so much personally from these professional development opportunities- ways to challenge my own thinking, how to frame service as I live my life, how to more thoughtfully connect to my community, how to find solutions to community challenges, etc.
Nemours Children's Health, Delaware Valley
One of the biggest benefits is learning from and getting to meet other volunteer administrators. This is such an amazing community!!! The willingness of other volunteer professionals to share information or talk things through is invaluable. I had an incident with a volunteer not too long ago and reached out to a fellow volunteer professional for some guidance. The way she taught me to work with the individual was incredibly helpful. Sharing information and learning from one another can only make our programs better and make us better leaders in our field.
Susan Sanow, CVA
Each year begins with a goal-setting webinar for our volunteer management community. The session encourages all to set professional goals including identifying one particular skill-weakness to tackle and make honing it a professional development priority. I have also developed webinars to encourage volunteer leaders to be proud of their profession and recognize the critical and challenging role we play in the work of the community. Some of these webinars include, The Benefits of Failure in Volunteer Management, Facing and Fighting Imposter Syndrome, Secrets of Holding Successful Meetings, Hidden Biases in Volunteer Management and The Art of Managing Up for Volunteer Managers. While these topics may be considered "out-of-the-box" for typical volunteer management training classes, their popularity shows that volunteer leaders are always looking to enhance their skills and understanding of their field. I am proud to play a role in their journey.
Paula Allen, CVA
San Jose, CA
I have raised awareness for record keeping in the profession by doing some informal advocacy for volunteer database use, rather than the good old-fashioned ‘excel spreadsheet’ or ‘in-person whiteboard’. In the ‘new world’ of volunteerism substantially changed by the global pandemic, it is more important than even to offer volunteers a clear picture of tasks and times they can engage in the mission of a non-profit. I feel all of it contributed to volunteers and staff at the org seeing the volunteer engagement professional I assisted as being part of a larger profession as a whole, and as being a more effective member of that profession. Additionally I hope that my involvement in projects at AL!VE that create new member offerings, like the Presenter Bootcamp, DEAI committee, and Resource Page, expands the opportunities that volunteer engagement professionals have to elevate their professional talents and provide the traction they need to make change in their own organizations.
Monica Jasso, CVA
Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest
El Paso, TX
As a lifelong learner, it has been very rewarding to not only grow professionally but to concentrate such development in a field so dear to my heart - volunteer administration. I try to take every opportunity I can for professional development. During the first few years of my career in this field, I mustered the courage to ask for permission to travel and attend a Volunteer Management course offered at Austin Community College. I was able to attend and still have that ending class picture in a frame. Girl Scouts of the USA offers a staff summit making sure to take courses in the volunteer management track. The Girl Scout Staff Association offers monthly professional development webinars as well as Friendship Knot mingles for networking. I often also sign up for webinars offered by AL!VE, CCVA, Sterling Volunteers, TTC Innovations, TVMC, and many other organizations. It is because of the opportunities that I have learned how to strategize for volunteer engagement, keep volunteer events to a low budget, develop conflict management guidelines, advocate for my profession and learn innovative ways to recognize volunteers. If it were up to me and it was a paying job, I would fill my day with learning. All day learning.
Angela Williamson, CVA
Blood Bank of Delmarva
Delaware, Virginia & Maryland
The CVA has given me confidence that I know what I am doing with best practices in place and base knowledge to move forward with planning and implementation. I continually read about volunteer leadership, leadership in general, and personal development. I attend webinars to stay up to date with trends, issues, and solutions. I continue to build my network of colleagues in the field to have support, ideas, and resources to lean upon and share with them what I have to offer as well. I brought the ALIVE conference to DAVA in 2017 and recruited support. Now, it’s an annual part of the DAVA schedule. Conferences, in person or virtual, are ways to continue to network, glean new ideas, share my experiences, and connect with others in the same field. They make us all better at what we do. Professional development is key to continued growth, adaptation, and success in the volunteer leadership field.
Mary Lynn Perry
Jadrien (Jay) Grimes
Thank you to our judging panel!
Morgan Green-Griffin, CVA
Marcia Hale, CVA
Kathryn Hampton, CVA
Carrie Hart, CVA
Brittany McGarry, CVA
Tim Suda, CVA
Thank you to our Award Committee!
Ashley Ramsdell, CVA
Corina Sadler, CVA
Nicole Smith, CVA
Jennifer Thompson, CVA
Thank you to our sponsor!
AL!VE Board Member Nicole Smith has interviewed past recipients on her 'From The Suggestion Box' podcast.
Hear from some of our past recipients in
part one of the podcast, part two, and part three.