Every year, Valley of the Sun United Way has the pleasure of welcoming in staff from our corporate partners as Loaned Executives (LEs). This opportunity gives the executives the chance to build personal and professional skills and gives the company a unique and impactful way to give back to the community. The 2019 Loaned Executives did a wonderful job and shared their experience with us.
“I learned more about the challenges facing individuals living in Maricopa County – including astronomical housing prices and evasive hunger issues. I also learned about some of the programs available to those individuals.”
– Kelly Cesare, APS
“Becoming a Loaned Executive helped me learn about the work United Way and its partner agencies do across the Valley. Prior to this experience, I really didn’t understand the scope of the poverty situation in Maricopa County or all the resources/ passionate people working to help find solutions. This experience also helped me realize how essential it is for the community to have corporate partners dedicated to share resources and time. APS is a big part of that. We have a symbiotic relationship. APS and the Maricopa County communities help each other grow and succeed.
Personally, I learned how blessed I am in my personal life and how blessed I am to have a community that works hard to help lift each other up. I want to ensure my daughter is a part of that community and understands the importance of giving back. Professionally, I’ve been able to develop relationships, organize and lead events, and refine my presentation skills.”
– Elizabeth APS
“Be flexible. Be ready each day to support the big picture not just your piece of the picture. This means being ready to change your plans to help out another team member.
Be positive. Every day on your drive in think about how blessed you are to have the opportunity to help someone who (most likely) is less fortunate than you.
Be prepared. You never know when you may get called on to say something. Develop a customized 3-5 minute presentation that highlights United Way and the great work they do; and memorize it or keep it on your phone so you can be ready to present on a moment’s notice. Also would be good to an introduction email, and a thank you email.
Be organized. Keep your calendar up to date so you know and others know what you are doing.
Be engaged. For the time you are a loaned executive you work for United Way. Don’t allow your parent company to distract you from your main mission. Things will come up that you have to take care of, but try to minimize these occurrences.
Be honest. Whether you grew up posh or in poverty, acknowledge it and use it to your advantage. If you don’t understand where someone is coming from; ask them to educate you.
Be persistent. When reaching out to your company contacts don’t be discouraged at the initial response (or lack thereof). Be persistent—follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
Be a learner. Listen and learn from the great Development Officers (DOs), by giving them the courtesy and respect due them for being experts in what they do.
Be Social. Get to know not only the LE’s and DO’s but all the other folks at United Way. Take time to get to know them by scheduling lunches and other times to be social they— don’t bite (hard).
Believe. Believe in what United Way is doing because if you don’t it will show.”
– Lee Baker APS
“Some of the best practices stem from understanding your responsibility as an LE. A main aspect of the role is public speaking. Being prepared or having some preparation, as you will have many opportunities to further develop this skill, to speak with a purpose and with confidence is key. Another is understanding your audience, this helps in tailoring your presentation.”
– Anna Hocking, SRP
“I have several fun stories about United Way. I loved participating in a talent show where a group of United Way representatives did a line dance. Everyone was out of sync and off beat, but we were confident in our ridiculousness.
I also had the opportunity to test out a new poverty exercise with a corporate partner. The employees were engaged and clearly learning a lot about what it means to be Working Poor. We were only supposed to take an hour, but people kept asking questions and engaging in discussions. We ended up going over by 15 minutes! I was learning a lot as well because Noemi, the United Way presenter, has a lot of knowledge/experience.”
– Elizabeth APS
We are so grateful to APS for sharing these wonderful employees with us this year and to QT and SRP who loaned us their employees last year, and the many others who have partnered with us before. It’s always so much fun to engage with the community through collaborative approach. If your company is looking for a unique, impactful, and immersive experience to grow your employees’ professional skills, contact us today to learn more about getting involved in the Loaned Executive program.