#WhyWednesday: Lee Crump

“I think United Way does so much to make this a better place to live for all of us.”

Lee Crump is the CIO and Group Vice President of Business Support for Rollins, Inc. In addition to being a member of our Tocqueville Society, Lee also serves as the Executive United Way Campaign Representative for Rollins. Today, hear why Lee is involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Last year, Rollins raised over $1.1 million dollars for United Way! Interested in increasing your company’s impact on your community? Learn more about how we can partner with your organization to design a custom corporate social responsibility strategy that reflects your company’s values, and helps you meet your philanthropic goals.

Today’s guest blog is written by Vicki Witherington, United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders member.

LIVE UNITED is United Way’s tag line. To me, Live United means to not only embrace individual differences, but also the community as a whole. This is particularly important when identifying and addressing the needs of the community, regardless of how those needs may directly impact you. To Live United means acknowledging that collective impact is greater than the sum of individual acts. That doesn’t happen by accident. It requires coordination. It requires the willingness to seek out the most critical problems. It demands that we fight for the health, education and financial stability for every person in every community. When you choose to Live United, you choose to improve your community by giving part of yourself — whether it be your time, support or donations — to make a lasting impact.

During Atlanta Pride, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professional Leaders (YPL) built on LIVE UNITED with another tag line: LOVE UNITED. After all, who wants to LIVE UNITED if we can’t LOVE UNITED? Just as we share the struggles and rejoice in successes as a community, we should celebrate love together. Love should be unifying. It’s an indescribably beautiful thing that often brings out people’s most positive attributes. Society fails us when hate is allowed to create divisions among us. This is evidenced by the significantly higher probability of homeless LGBTQ youth compared to their straight counterparts. Fighting homelessness is a big part of the work United Way does, so it really is all intertwined. In addressing the issues that face the LGBTQ members of the community, YPL is following through on its mission to create a community that lives and loves united.

Being an ally to the LGBTQ community means that, although you don’t identify your sexual orientation within any of these categories, you believe in equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect. You believe civil rights apply to everyone and they are not meant to be enjoyed by only certain groups of people. Historically speaking, equality has unfortunately been a right that many groups have had to fight for, and the LGBTQ community is no different. We know from history that any civil rights movements cannot succeed without the support of allies. The LGBTQ community does not make up a majority of the population. For true change to occur, there must be support both inside and outside the LGBTQ community. Straight allies have a unique role in that we can speak hard truths to the straight community without the perceived agenda that can be interpreted when coming from a member of the LGBTQ community. I consider myself an ally and am so proud to be a part of an organization like United Way that takes a stance as an ally.

When a company supports these values, it shows the community that it values its employees. Your workplace is where you spend the majority of your time, so it’s important that you’re working in an environment that fosters acceptance and allows you to focus on your work rather than being preoccupied with how you are being perceived. Even more importantly, it’s the means to which you are earning your livelihood, so equality from a financial and benefits perspective is imperative. Ultimately, you want to be proud of the place you work. Companies should strive to encourage and celebrate diversity while also not defining an employee by their demographics, but by their contributions. That’s working united.

A company’s responsibility to its employees go further than creating a safe and equitable workplace. They must also support community initiatives that align with their corporate values. I value the opportunity that Atlanta Pride gives to advocate hand-in-hand with the companies and organizations in the community that share my values.

Atlanta Pride has a special meaning to me personally. My closest friend came out to me when we were in college. Admittedly, my reaction was less than ideal. Honestly, I was scared for him. I was scared that his life would be harder as a gay man than if he was straight. I didn’t want there to be any reason for him to face adversity in his life. It took me some time to recognize that my initial response was based in fear. His decision to have that difficult conversation with me was an act of bravery. What he needed from me was to be brave with him. I decided that instead of being fearful of how society would receive him, I would fight to make society one that would be accepting.

I researched and joined organizations that were taking action on issues facing the LGBTQ community and discovered Atlanta Pride in that process. I first attended with him in 2013, and we have been every year since. It was the first LGBTQ event that he had ever attended. For the first time, he saw an enormous amount of people putting aside any fear of judgment or rejection, while embracing every aspect of themselves and basking in that freedom. That was the first time he felt comfortable being gay in public, and it had such a positive impact on his journey in coming to terms with his sexual identity.

Imagine the impact you can have on countless people like my friend. Stand with us. Take action. Love united. Work united. Live united.

To learn more about YPL and how to get involved in your community, click here.

AAP Cabinet Member Spotlight: Troy Felder
Human Resources Manager, Genuine Parts Company


AAP: Tell us about your role at Genuine Parts and how you impact the company’s strategic goals.

Troy: I have been with GPC for 5 years, the last 2 years have been in my current role of Sr. HRBP, where I currently support GPC IT & Financial Shared Services. I impact GPC’s strategic human capital objectives, by partnering with our senior leaders on solutions in talent acquisition, retention and succession planning for a high performing workforce. As a certified facilitator, I am actively involved in learning & development activities that also encourages employees to take ownership of their careers. This type approach to career planning is beneficial to them personally and to the organization.


AAP: What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in human resources (or more specific aspect of HR)?

Troy: My professional career began in retail management, before I transitioned to HR. That experience taught me the importance of building and maintaining relationships. This remains my philosophy as a HRBP. As a business partner, I would encourage someone starting their HR career to do more than manage policies and procedures but manage relationship and seek exposure. I once read that, “60% of your career success depends on who you know and more importantly, who knows what you know.


AAP: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

Troy: Income: financial education and job readiness training specifically. I have toured the City of Refuge 4 or more times. I was there when the first AutoTech class started in the NAPA training center and hired one of the first graduates in a NAPA retail store. To hear that programs have been added in home security and pest control are exciting and gratifying!


AAP: Who is your favorite African-American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?

Troy: Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall – Justice Marshall accomplished so many firsts in his life. I am often told; I could be a lawyer in a different life. There are many quotes that come to mind, when reflecting on our current affairs. Instead, I will lean towards the work of AAP: children & communities. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” Thurgood Marshall

#WhyWednesday: John Giegerich

John Giegerich, BB&T Senior Vice President and Atlanta Market President, understands the importance of the work United Way is doing for this community. He’s seen firsthand the difference it can make in one person’s life, and it’s why he continues to give today. Today, hear why John is a passionate Tocqueville Society member and United Way of Greater Atlanta supporter!

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society, the largest Tocqueville Society in the United States, is a committed leadership group making a measurable and sustainable impact on child well-being in Greater Atlanta through the connected efforts of their philanthropy. Learn more about Tocqueville Society here.

African-American Partnership Member Spotlight: Janice Robinson
Executive Director of Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP)

AAP: Tell us about your role at United Way of Greater Atlanta and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Janice: As the Executive Director of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Volunteer Involvement Program, my role is to develop and manage the execution of a Board Governance curriculum for corporate and community volunteers, and nonprofit agency board and staff across greater Atlanta. VIP alumni serve to strengthen nonprofit organizations throughout Greater Atlanta and beyond by providing well-trained board members.

AAP: What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in community engagement?
Janice: You must have a love for people and the community. Community engagement is a strategic process that focuses on the practices and processes required to maintain a healthy and responsive community. It is a science and an art and when done well, it is a joy.

There are six key skills needed to be successful: 1) people 2) communications 3) project management 4) organizational 5) negotiation 6) data analysis.

If you possess these and are motivating and persuasive, then this work could be for you.

AAP: How have you seen VIP change during your time at United Way?
Janice: VIP has grown from a program that was offered annually and trained 35 leaders to our current model of five sessions annually, including summer, and training upwards of 150 leaders. The leaders have become more diverse, formerly they were mainly corporate leaders; they are now, corporate, nonprofit and community leaders and those that are currently serving on a board to those wanting to start a nonprofit.

We have also developed a customized training, boardDigest, to provide in-house trainings for corporations throughout greater Atlanta.

AAP: What is your favorite quote?
Janice: To whom much is given, much will be required.

Jeff Hammond is a Principal at Sperry Van Ness (SVN) Commercial Realty with more than 20 years of experience in the sale, investment, development and property management of commercial and residential real estate. His track record has earned him nicknames such as “The Bulldog” and “Mr. Networker.” Prior to his current role, Jeff committed over a decade to longstanding United Way partner, United Postal Service (UPS).

Jeff and his wife, Vicky, became United Way of Greater Atlanta Tocqueville Society members three years ago. He also dedicates his time to the Tocqueville Society Cabinet, allowing his naturally gregarious personality to shine as a volunteer on the Engagement & Retention Committee. However, his involvement with United Way began long before he came to us.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way?
“The reason I got involved with United Way was through the UPS campaign. I walked in, first day on August 17th, and my boss was the district chairman. She said, “This is what you do at UPS,” so I thought that’s what you did. That’s how I initially got involved with United Way.

Before then, I’ve always given to the community from my church, Boy Scouts, and also my fraternity (Sigma Nu at UNC Charlotte). I was a community service chair, raised money for different events… so when I got to UPS, it just took off from there.”

How did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member?
“It was a decision that my wife and I made. The step-up program was really the key. We’d been giving what they call “Leadership Giving” at UPS… Then we’re like, “Why aren’t we doing step-up? We’re here in Atlanta, this is the biggest Tocqueville Society in the nation, this is what we should do.” We always kind of dreamed to do that.”

If you were to choose another career path, what would it be?
“I’ve had two career paths – one, I worked at UPS, that was my dream job. Then I went into real estate, and it’s definitely my passion. If there was another job that I would ever take, it would be a CEO of a United Way-type organization. I wake up every day trying to help somebody, even in my own business.”

Where is your favorite spot in Atlanta to grab a bite to eat?
“Atlanta MSA, or…? I’ve got several places I like to go. Local watering hole is The Wing Café, I love wings. Another restaurant, up in Roswell, Peach & The Porkchop, that is probably the best in Fulton County. Going south of the city in Villa Rica, Evan’s BBQ is a great place.”

Apply by September 27, 2019 to become a VITA site in 2020! United Way is inviting organizations interested in becoming VITA sites to submit an application for funding. Partners will be provided with funding and support to provide free tax preparation at locations across the region.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a more than 40-year running, national IRS program where trained and certified volunteers prepare tax returns for low income families according to IRS guidelines. United Way of Greater Atlanta in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) leads a coalition of approximately 30 organizations that promotes and supports free tax preparation. Free tax preparation supports United Way’s goal to build a stronger future for greater Atlanta by supporting the well-being of its children, the families that support them and the community that surrounds them.

The exact funds available will be based on IRS funding for the VITA program. Awards to specific partners will depend upon details of the funding available from the IRS and the review of applications including performance targets from new and existing VITA partners.

Download the Request For Applications here.

African-American Partnership Cabinet Spotlight: Elaina L. Ford
Global Diversity Engagement Leader, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

AAP: Tell us about your role at Kimberly Clark and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Elaina: As Global Diversity Engagement Leader for Kimberly-Clark, I help lead our company’s efforts to build and retain a diversified workforce that reflects our consumers. In this role, I lead our Employee Resource Groups, Community Relations strategy and Diversity Recruitment efforts. In addition, I partner with business units within Kimberly-Clark to set and implement effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies.

AAP: What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in diversity and community engagement?
Elaina: At most companies, the Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement Teams have a small number of people and it can be challenging at times to find entry-level opportunities on these teams. Typically this is because people on these teams have vast experience in these areas and they rarely leave because the work is so intrinsically rewarding. This was the situation I faced. I was very passionate about these areas, but I found it challenging to “break in”.

If you are interested in a career in Diversity & Inclusion or Community Engagement, my advice is to build your exposure, knowledge, and credibility through your volunteer efforts. Participate & lead one of your company’s Employee Resource Groups. Volunteer to help with your company’s diversity recruiting team and community service efforts like the United Way Campaigns. Volunteer in the community and if you feel especially drawn to a specific cause or organization, find ways to contribute in a significant way like serving on their board or co-leading a key initiative.

AAP: How have you seen your industry change during your career?
Elaina: Digital disruption has significantly changed the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) industry in how and where connect with consumers. Gone are the days in which a CPG company could place a TV or print advertisement and expect to reach the majority of their target audience. We are now in the Digital Age in which consumers are informed, connect with one another, are entertained in various and disparate channels within the digital space. This fragmented landscape presents a challenge for companies to effectively and efficiently connect with a critical mass of their target audience.

AAP: Why is philanthropy important? How do you give back to the community?
Elaina: Philanthropy is very important as the work helps improve wellbeing of humankind. I recall the quote “To whom much is given, much is required”. I personally feel God has blessed me with so much and because of that, it is my responsibility to “pay it forward”. I give back to the community through my public service sorority, my church, my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop and school, United Way initiatives, serving on non-profit boards, volunteering for various service projects, and just plain helping when I see someone in need.

AAP: Who is your favorite African-American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?
Elaina: My favorite African-American trailblazer in servant leadership as of late is Robert F. Smith who gave the commencement address to the graduating class of Morehouse College and surprised them by paying off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates. He gave of his treasure to truly impact generations to come. I believe that he is setting a resonating example to other high-earning individuals to give back in meaningful and significant way. Very inspirational.

#WhyWednesday: Candice Dixon

“United Way has served as the place where I’ve learned to become a more impactful volunteer and community leader.” Today, hear why Candice Dixon, Director of Corporate Partnership Development at Community Health Charities and member of United Way’s Young Professional Leaders, is dedicated to helping communities in Greater Atlanta thrive!

How do you get involved and raise awareness for issues that matter to you? United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders (YPL), is a compassionate, committed group of individuals on a mission to encourage the spirit of philanthropy. YPL members represent some of the top emerging leaders in Greater Atlanta, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 under 40,” as well as community and civic leaders. Chosen as one of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s five professional clubs for millennials, YPL is the group of choice for community-minded young people. In 2015, 1,335 members donated more than $1.9 million to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Join the YPL movement as they take ownership today of Atlanta’s tomorrow! Learn more about YPL and how you can get involved here.

LINC Member, Mitch Hogan
Corporate Banking Analyst
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

 

LINC: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s LINC group?
Mitch: I have a passion for serving and strive to surround myself with people with a similar passion. I graduated from UGA and moved to Atlanta with the goal of meeting new people who love to volunteer and meet others. I quickly came across LINC and was welcomed right away. Once I attended the first event, I could tell the community of people was what I was looking for. Each person I met was incredibly unique and came from all over the place. I loved hearing each person’s story and what drove them to volunteer their time and commit to this community. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is to plant roots wherever you are, and I could tell that LINC is something that I would want to plant roots in and see how the organization and myself grow overtime.

 

LINC: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Mitch: I love United Ways work to bring everyone from the community together to understand what the needs are in that community. Specifically, I’m passionate about supporting LINC’s initiative to bring young professionals into a space of giving and volunteering our time. I love to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and I want to continue to work to make the programs and events successful so that more people can learn about how they can make an impact in Atlanta. I’m passionate about serving and I’ve come to learn that each and every event United Way puts on, whether we are fighting homelessness or helping high schoolers understand how to succeed in college, is a way to learn so much about the individuals we are working to help.

 

LINC: What is your favorite quote?
Mitch: “Bloom where you are planted.”