By Quinn Slayton, Director of Development
Waking up at 4:00 am to meet with night shifters. Standing in a stark glass vestibule awaiting security clearance. Being chased by armed guards. Getting lost in unfamiliar maze-like hallways. Signing waivers promising not to share any information about what happens inside, under threat of death. Sounds like the latest installment of the Jason Bourne series? You might be surprised to find out that these action-hero sequences are true-life examples of the adventures which await United Way staff members during the workplace campaign season. Except for the threat of death thing. That one I made up.
Six months ago when I accepted the job as Director of Development at United Way, I definitely wasn’t expecting this Die Hard level of excitement. I figured that most of my time would be spent asking people for money from the safety of my cubicle. Boy was I wrong. Within my first week, my action hero life began, rushing from exotic locations to important appointments in my car (which I pretend is an Aston Martin with hidden missile launchers behind the headlights).
United Way staff members get to experience a day in the life of James Bond on a regular basis because we have the privilege of being invited into workplaces not generally open to the public. Some companies that conduct workplace campaigns have trade secrets to guard, sensitive materials to manage, or the responsibility of looking after guests like me who have no idea what is going on and will most likely touch something shiny if not instructed otherwise. Thus the extra security, background checks, and pat downs (okay, once again a bridge too far).
Now that I have one United Way workplace campaign season under my belt, I have time to reflect on what an amazing ride it is. I get to meet interesting people in interesting companies that are making breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology. I get to see local people, the real action heroes, make a difference in the lives of their neighbors through their generosity.
A year ago, I was working in a United Way funded agency helping families get out of poverty. Today I am raising money to support the very programs I used to work for, and I love every exciting minute of it.