Message from the board: Embracing volunesia

Several years ago, I was approached by a senior level colleague at my company asking if I would serve as the director at large for the HBA volunteer engagement committee. I was just about to say “sorry, I am so busy” until I realized that I was talking to a VP-level executive, who is a single mother and an active volunteer on the board of the HBA. I knew that I could not play the “busy card” with her. So, I accepted the board position and have not looked back since.     

It’s called “Volunesia” which is the moment you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours…  And that sums up my experience with this organization dedicated to furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. I am sure most of us are familiar with the starfish story about the child that was throwing starfish back into the sea to save one at a time. My favorite part about the story is the line “I made a difference to that one.” It doesn’t matter if you can give an hour a year or an hour a week, you can make a difference to our organization that is run by a team of dedicated women and men.      

April is National Volunteer Month, so it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the people and the passion that fuel HBA Northern Chicago. At every HBA event I attend, I cannot help but marvel at the number of volunteers that planned every detail - identifying the event theme and speaker(s), finding a venue, creating marketing and promotional materials, orchestrating the food and wine, ensuring if there is a coat rack when it rains, and the list goes on. But ask any of those volunteers about their experience, and I am confident they would say that volunteering deepens their engagement in and enthusiasm for the HBA. It is true that you get out what you put in.    

Over the past years, we have endured our share of tragedies in the U.S., from weather disasters to school shootings. You read about people that get in their car and drive to help people they don’t know. They are just wired that way. And other people need a push. I needed a push to get involved in the HBA. We all can play the busy card, and I am so very thankful that I took a leap of faith that I could make a difference.    

If you’re not a volunteer and you are considering becoming one, reach out to me or any member of the membership and volunteer engagement committee, and we can find a role that matches your interests and your time commitment. If you are a volunteer, thank you on behalf of the entire board and we hope you have a really bad case of “volunesia.”  

Best regards
Jen Dickerson
HBA Northern Chicago director at large
HBA volunteer engagement committee