Q: What’s your occupation? Explain your career, your accomplishments and professional highlights.
A: I am the community engagement manager at the Weld Food Bank. Previously, I was the volunteer manager for a year-and-a-half, and during that time I doubled our volunteer base and created new systems and processes to cultivate and steward our amazing volunteers. Prior to my time at the food bank, I ran a nonprofit for children called Family Holiday Promise that was focused on making holiday memories and activities possible for young children and those experiencing homelessness.
Q: Tell us about yourself, your history and how you came to be where you are now.
A: I am a single mom to two beautiful kids. I had my daughter when I was 17 and attended college full-time as a preschool teacher before receiving my bachelor’s degree in business management. During college, I volunteered with the Fort Collins Rescue Mission and fell in love with the nonprofit sector and helping others. Now, six years later, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Occupation: Community engagement manager at Weld Food Bank
Q: Tell us something unique about you.
A: I have been a Girl Scout troop leader for the last five years. I started the troop while I was on bedrest with my son. My Girl Scouts have been able to snowshoe, rock climb, build rockets and even sleep over at the zoo.
Q: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, either professionally or personally?
A: My greatest professional accomplishment has been developing a volunteer culture at the food bank that makes every person who comes in feel valued, seen and appreciated. I take pride in those relationships and the impact this place has, not just by feeding our neighbors in need but also by being a place of community for retired seniors who give their time, students learning about their community and special needs individuals gaining life and job skills.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
A: I would love to still be at the food bank in 10 years, helping to fight hunger in my community through our numerous programs. I feel incredibly blessed to have found an organization that I love enough to never want to leave and to be immersed in a community whose generosity surprises me every day, whether that be with their time, money or skills.
Q: What piece(s) of advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Instead of thinking life is happening to you, view it as life unfolding for you. The hard moments and challenging times will teach you persistence, dedication and strength.
Q: How did COVID play a role in your involvement with the Food Bank?
A: Though I was not with the food bank during the peak of the pandemic, the increased need for volunteers that followed has required us to change the way that we recruit and onboard volunteers. This led to us implementing a new database last year that helps us hopefully turn one-time volunteers with a company or school group into recurring volunteers with our organization. It has also allowed us to communicate with our off-site volunteers at our mobile food pantries and satellite location in Fort Lupton in a more efficient way.
Q: How did you double Weld Food Bank’s volunteer base?
A: During my time as volunteer manager, I focused on making all of our volunteers from every program feel valued and seen. Positive, timely communication is a huge part of that. I am passionate about the idea that volunteering is often a community member’s first look into what we do, and that has the potential to turn them into a donor for our organization as well as become an owner of it, meaning they speak well of us in the community and become our advocate. Our team is so amazing and inviting, and they care so much about what they do. All it takes is volunteers seeing that and wanting to be part of it.