Each time I stand in front of a group of employees to encourage workplace giving, I begin by telling the audience how much I wish they could have all joined me in my Loaned Executive training.
In my opinion, there is no better way to understand and gain a deeper appreciation for the breadth and scope of United Way’s work in our community and the way in which this organization addresses issues collaboratively. Above all, the visits to agency partners to experience the outstanding programs (funded by United Way’s Community Fund) in action are truly inspiring.
It is no easy task to select just one of the many stories to share. I think the one that sticks with me the most is the “Little Sister” who was encouraged to think BIG by her “Big Sister.” Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee is a United Way Partner Agency that provides one-to-one mentoring for at-risk children. Perhaps I remember this story because it makes me nervous to drive through car washes, but the Little Sister had her first experience of a car wash and thought it was the greatest thing ever! So much so that she told her Big Sister she wanted to work at a car wash when she grew up. Her Big Sister gently suggested that perhaps becoming a designer of carwash systems might be more fulfilling and helped steer her towards a stronger interest in the studies that would lead to such a career.
Whether it’s broadening children’s horizons and encouraging them to reach their potential, helping those who have experienced mental illness become less isolated, or funding food pantries for families who are going through tough times, United Way has so many success stories to tell. As a Loaned Executive, it was a privilege to experience these stories and share them with the community.
Elaine Sweet was a 2013 and 2014 Loaned Executive sponsored by Rockwell Automation, and was one of the winners of the 2015 John A. Puelicher Award for Loaned Executive excellence. Watch Elaine's acceptance speech or learn more about the Loaned Executive program.