Crisis volunteering and professional gain – High Point Enterprise
The High Point Enterprise:
Crisis volunteering and professional gain
BY MILDRED L. CULP
People who yawn at the thought of volunteering might consider crises challenging. Thriving on the work itself may lead to unexpected full-and part-time opportunities.
Today, Louis (Lou) Clmint, vice president of Human Resources, The Americas, for the expanding Samsonite Corporation In Mansfield, Mass., enjoys responsibilities over 4,000 employees in North and South America. Clmint say that he flourishes “in companies (with) a lot going on.”
Daniel Peirce, a fulltime electrician in Victoria, BC., Canada, pulls in three revenue streams while serving commercial, residential and marine markets- his own business, Dan Peirce Electricial, Nichol Electric Ltd, and UsedVictoria.com. The last, a salaried position, grew out of volunteering he’d done for two years, in his words “straight from my heart.”
Both men are inveterate volunteers. Peirce started in a hospital as a teenager; Clmint has volunteered throughout his career when newly promoted and relocated with family left behind, between jobs and while consulting. He has helped homeless veterans with job-hunting skills and even done their laundry. Through Boston’s New Directions Inc., an executive outplacement program, he volunteered for ten weeks during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation.
Peirce and Clmint volunteered to meet personal needs but also gained professionally. Peirce has always helped people in need. “I just want to do more for anyone,” he comments. “I’m a single dad. Any story with a kid touches me; so I always reach out. When my daughter was a baby and I didn’t see her much, I did this to filly my time, because there was a void.” Peirce was looking for people in need on UsedVictoria.com during the December holidays. He discovered a single dad about to be evicted. (He checks out each case to make certain it isn’t a scam.) He went into high gear raising funds to keep that from happening. A television interview led to checks and wired money. Added to a donation “from a friend of a friend,” he says, “there was enough to bring the man’s cable, Internet and phone up to date, plus three months so the man could get a job.” It also covered past due and current rent and water bills.
Peirce didn’t just hand over the money. “I took him to a grocery store so we could fill his cupboard, freezer and fridge, and get things for his kids,” he continues. “People wanted to give him Christmas presents for his kids but didn’t know what.” Once the news story was out, Peirce received two job offers and accepted part-time at UsedVictoria.com. “This new job is really more like a full-time position, because it’s day and night with me online and on my Blackberry, always checking for developments,” he adds. Now he scans 2,000 ads every day.
Getting promoted and relocating created “gaps” for Clmint, which he’d fill with the energy that came form helping others. “For Katrina, I built a (probono) management team to lead all key functions for evacuees who were overwhelming the Cape Cod Housing Assistance Corp.,” he says. “A number of us expanded the concept into a consulting cadre for nonprofits with organizational and process issues.
“I get so much energy from this,” he remarks. “I don’t get it from networking for jobs, interviewing or building a consulting market.” His volunteer experiences became part of the story that convinced Samsonite to hire him.
Crisis volunteering for Clmint and Peirce propelled them both into the future.
DR.MILDRED L. CULP is an award-winning journalist. Email questions or comments to email@example.com