TAVA Member Spotlight
Name: Denise Smith
Organization: The LIFE Institute
Role: Manager, Volunteer Services
Working in the Volunteer Engagement Sector for: over 12 years
Been a part of TAVA for: 10 years
"My advice to someone looking to take the next step is to be ready for an exciting, challenging, humorous, and rewarding experience. "
The biggest challenge I find while working in this field is the lack of appreciation and understanding of volunteer engagement. Granted, we do what we do because we love it. However, educating and having others understand what we do each day can be challenging. If you say you're a Volunteer Coordinator people assume you coordinate something without being paid. Just the title alone can lack the impact of what we do. Therefore, people aren't clear on what our role accomplishes.
This job isn't for everyone. Some of us fall into it because of job changes or restructuring. Some of us search it out from the beginning and make that conscious decision to work in this field. My advice to someone looking to take the next step is to be ready for an exciting, challenging, humorous, and rewarding experience. And remember that you are not alone, whether you're building a volunteer program from the ground up, or stepping into a developed program.
When I'm not working I love spending time with my family - especially my son. I love being a mom and enjoying all the experiences and first times with him. I gain energy by having amazing friends and focusing on self care. I also like spending time running, reading and watching scary horror movies.