Posted by: Shirley Chapin, Emerging Leaders United and Online Engagement Associate
I’ve been responsible for the day-to-day work of Emerging Leaders United for nearly three years now, and I’ve met literally hundreds of members who are passionate about making a difference in their community. They come from all walks of life. They work in offices, manufacturing facilities, on the road and in the outdoors. But each one of them has a passion for Berks County, and I’m inspired by them every day.
As we mark the 5th anniversary of Emerging Leaders United this year, we’re going to be sharing thoughts from some of the members themselves, getting to know them and hearing what they value about ELU. Our first member is Mary Neiman, who works for Visions Federal Credit Union. Mary and I recently sat down for a little Q&A about her experience:
Shirley: How did you hear about ELU and what made you decide to join?
Mary: My former manager would sign up for events and when he was unable to attend, I would go in his place. I thought the concept of what ELU does within the community was interesting and something I wanted to be a part of and that’s why I
Shirley: You joined ELU near the end of 2018 and you’ve already participated in more than a dozen events. What has been your favorite activity and why?
Mary: My favorite event is Santa’s Workshop for the [Olivet Boys and Girls Club] kids. I enjoy helping the kids shop for someone other than themselves. It teaches them to think about feelings of others and wants above their own. I believe that if we teach our kids good habits early in life that they will have a better chance of becoming a good person who makes a positive contribution to the world around them. I also loved seeing them have fun with the photo booth and dancing.
Shirley: How has ELU has helped you fulfill your personal or professional goals?
Mary: Personally, I feel like my mission in life is to help others and the ELU has provided me the best opportunity for me to do just that.
Professionally, I have connected with individuals who have helped me come out of my shell. I used to be extremely quiet and always kept to myself. Now I make a point to introduce myself to someone I do not know at each event I am at. It has helped me learn about my personality and how I communicate with others, which in turn has led to better communications within my workplace, amongst my employees and members.
Shirley:What have you learned about our community through your involvement in ELU?
Mary: I learned that giving back isn’t always about monetary donations. Donating your time to someone can be more valuable and meaningful than any amount of cash. In life, all we have is time. We’re not told how much time we have but as long as we are alive, we have it, so why not share it?
Shirley: What advice would you give to a potential/new ELU member?
Mary: Volunteer for everything that you can. It’s all worth it! Challenge yourself to meet and learn about someone new at each event you go to.
Shirley:What are you looking forward to this year?
Mary: I’m looking forward to meeting new people and continuing to be able to make a difference within the communities that surround me.
Will you take Mary’s advice and challenge yourself to volunteer as much as you can and meet new people? You can find all upcoming opportunities on our ELU Events page. To get a feel for the types of events we offer throughout the year, visit our blog Looking Back on 2019 with Emerging Leaders United