I am the Donor Relations Manager at United Way of Palm Beach County. My job is to help tell the story of United Way and its impact in the Palm Beach County community in a way that educates, inspires, and engages our various groups of donors. I also help facilitate volunteer projects, professional development workshops, and social events, for United Way’s young professional group and women’s leadership group.
Throughout my time at PBA, I took advantage of internships and volunteer experiences offered on campus and locally in West Palm; I completed 7 internships! The majority of my internships and jobs were in the nonprofit sector, which aligned with my Christian Social Ministry studies. From each of these experiences, I gained an understanding of how to help communities effectively as well as knowledge about the resources required to accomplish long-term change.
After graduating, I continued my education at the University of Florida (UF) where I earned a master’s degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations. At UF, I worked at the on-campus communications agency where I gained a whole new perspective of the nonprofit world. I was placed on a team working on communications strategies for a nonprofit client and learned that the way a nonprofit talks about their work is equally as valuable as the work that they do. The blending of communications and nonprofit experiences opened the door for my current work at United Way.
Before I graduated, I had this picture in my mind that I would graduate, instantly land my dream job with my dream employer, and work there until I retired. That didn’t happen for me. The reality is that many new graduates (most likely) won’t get their dream jobs right out of the gate. Sounds like a bummer, right? But, it’s actually for good reason. I learned so much in my first and second entry level jobs. They truly laid the foundation of skills and lessons that I will forever use as I continue to grow in my professional career. I was (and still am!) willing to put in the time to learn and master every task given to me, big or small, because each task has some kind of value to my personal growth and development.
"PBA prepared me for the work field more than I know, and for that I am grateful."
My professors at PBA taught me how to think for myself, and my involvement on campus gave me the opportunity to see the lessons I was learning in the classroom come to life. The interpersonal communication, teamwork, and leadership skills, that I developed from being a peer mentor in First Year Experience classes and a member of the steering committee has been beneficial in my career. I use those skills daily in the various committees I am involved with, and am a better team member because of it.
Learn how to balance humility and confidence in your skills and decision-making. It’s ok not to know it all as you begin your professional career; after all, you are there to learn, work hard, and grow! But don’t forget that you bring a lot to the table as well: skills, passion, and fresh ideas. Combine your willingness to learn, hard work, and confidence in your abilities, and you will experience tremendous growth and establish strong rapport with your employer.
I haven’t had an “official” mentor, but the professor who I was the Teaching Assistant for during my time at UF mentored me in many ways. She believed in me and challenged me with tasks and projects that I never thought I could accomplish. She taught me to understand my worth and push myself to learn more, be more creative, and see challenges as opportunities instead of failures.
Spotlight posted in June 2017. For current updates from Chloe and the United Way of Palm Beach County, visit their Facebook page.