“Volunteering releases the same endorphins as sex, dark chocolate, and eating pizza watching football on Sunday's, so get out and help someone less fortunate than you” paraphrased -Jonathan Elias, ABC7/WJLA & Master of Ceremonies at the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County (CVC-MC) Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony.
Get out and help someone less fortunate than you, right on Jonathan! When I joined the CVC-MC board eight years ago that is exactly why I did it – to help those that are less fortunate. Because there was at a time in my life that I was the one that was in a less fortunate position; now I am able to volunteer and lend my expertise’s to help those that are in need. You see, wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you - even if it is a little thing.
And it was at the CVC-MC 2015 Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 16 where we said thank you to everyone that has been a part of our year for doing the “little things” and the “big things” that have been positively impacting the businesses, non-profit’s and the local community. The CVC’s Annual Luncheon celebrates the past year of corporate service in Montgomery County & awards businesses that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the community through volunteerism.
We recognized four amazing businesses with awards for outstanding volunteer efforts in 2015. They included:
- Sole Proprietor of the Year – Jeff Miller Consulting Alliance
- Emerging Volunteer Program - CNSI
- Innovative Volunteer Program – Emergent Bio Solutions
- Partnership of the Year – Sodexo & Manna Food Center
Additionally, I was honored to witness fellow board member Kelly Caplan of Washington Gas receive the Andrea Jolly President's Award from CVC President Rich Stang for her exceptional commitment to service in Montgomery County.
It was truly humbling to sit in a room of over 200 outstanding folks and witness a true passion for community engagement.
In addition to the presentation of awards, we heard from Keynote Speaker Graham McLaughlin of The Advisory Board Company. Graham was inspirational! Graham leads the corporate social responsibility efforts of The Advisory Board Company, a global technology, research, and consulting firm partnering with over 4,000 organizations across health care and higher education that boasts 100% participation in their employee volunteer program.
Graham started his presentation with a quote from John Carlos - “I had a moral obligation to step up. Morality was a far greater force than the rules and regulations they had”.
So who is John Carlos and why does this have to do with corporate volunteerism? Carlos was the man who raised a black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games, When Carlos raised his fist in a black power salute at the Olympics, it changed 20th-century history – and his own life – forever. Carlos said “In life, there's the beginning and the end," he says. "The beginning don't matter. The end don't matter. All that matters is what you do in between – whether you're prepared to do what it takes to make change.”
Graham went on to address the Montgomery County business community to not only do good, but to do it better by leveraging their workforce as volunteers, measuring their impact, and telling their story. Graham during his presentation said some pretty amazing stuff, but the one concept that made the biggest “impact” on me was “big changes can happen quickly with clear focus and it only takes a small spark”.
Well how do I step up? How do I achieve my moral obligation? What do I need to do to prepare to make a change?
Graham suggests building a platform. He says it pays to do good and doing good is good business. He mentioned expanding your impact through non-traditional partnerships. Lead by example. And when you see what you are doing, you will see the impact. Thanks Graham for sharing with us the successes and challenges of running a top notch employee volunteer program.
A couple other things from the luncheon….
The luncheon marked the debut of the CVC Annual Review, which shares stories from CVC members about their commitment to service in Montgomery County and beyond. I encourage you to pick up a copy from the CVC office or at one of our next events and read it! You will be able to see some of the fantastic work being done by a portion of our CVC Members and it may just be everything you need to to create an amazing, inspiring experience for your employees & volunteers– and you won’t regret it.
I believe it was when Will Schroeder of Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, PA became our board president that we opted to choose a “board theme” for the year. The theme guides us as a board so we can make effective decisions for the organization. An effective decision-making board can strengthen a nonprofit organization in many different ways. Board members have important duties and responsibilities requiring time commitment, particular skills, talents and resources.
At the luncheon, Jeff Miller of Jeff Miller Consulting Alliance, was announced as our new president and made his opening remarks. At the end of his remarks he said “if not now, when? Do the right thing.” Now, I am not sure if this is our theme for the year or what, but it should be because you know what - volunteering is the right thing
People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, especially wanting to help others. But it's also OK to want some benefits for yourself (from volunteering). Consider that most people find themselves in need at some point in their lives. So today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else's volunteer effort. Just get involved. And if your business is not already involved with the CVC, I highly suggest getting involved with them now! The CVC can do amazing things for your business & your employees.