Emerging Leaders 2015 Spotlight Page

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December 2015 Spotlight

Brandon Loss - SC Johnson

Member Since January 2015

 

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining?

I became an EL as a way to learn more about this community.  I was looking for a way to engage and add value to the community.  So far, the work at Safe Haven of rebuilding beds has been the best experience.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am most passionate about addressing the issue of long-standing poverty.  I grew up in a rural area that has lost many jobs, and most people there live on very little.  The facts about poverty that I’ve heard at United Way meetings are truly staggering and this issue needs to be corrected.  

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

I really enjoy solving problems.  As for my “Dream Job,” I like the energy and intensity of coaching sports.  I would love to be able to do that one day. It also resonates with being able to make a difference.   

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

Volunteering tears down the wall between your life and someone else’s.  It is critical to having empathy.     

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I want to make a difference in the community.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy watching and playing sports.  Spending time with friends.  Learning.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

 

November 2015 Spotlight

Stacy Tapp - RUSD

Member Since January 2014

 

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining?

I decided to become an Emerging Leader because I deeply value the work of United Way of Racine County. As an employee of RUSD, a partner that directly benefits from the efforts and partnerships of United Way, I feel an obligation to do what I can, as an individual, to support this important and valuable work. I’ve not been a member long, but I did get a chance to volunteer at the Women’s Resource Center with my seven-year-old daughter. It was an amazing experience and I look forward to many more!

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am very passionate about education.  That is one of the reasons I’m a proud supporter of United Way of Racine County.  Many of their initiatives focus on education, starting with 0-5 years (Imagination Library), continuing to adolescence (Schools of Hope and Youth as Resources), and all the way to adulthood (Advancing Family Assets).  These programs provide a valuable education that encourages success.  

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

Public education of course! I am very passionate about public education here in the Racine community. The success of our public schools plays a key role in the future success of our community. Right now, RUSD is celebrating great progress in many areas – increasing graduation rates, improving student achievement data and forming partnerships that are creating new opportunities for students. We are poised for success and with many strong community partners, like United Way, I know we will continue on this path.    

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

The most rewarding part of my career is when I can look at our students and know that what I am doing every day impacts their lives and their futures. Last year, our team worked incredibly hard to get support for the November referendum. In August, I was fortunate enough to be at the groundbreaking celebrations for three new schools – thanks to that successful referendum! To know that together, we made this possible for hundreds of students and families here in our community is extremely rewarding.    

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I believe United Way of Racine County is doing some amazing things for our community. United Way is a great partner for our public schools and is focused on making this community stronger. I am committed to playing a small part in any way I can. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I love to be active – running, playing sports and chasing my kids. Traveling is a passion and I love to read when I can find the time. Most of all, I really enjoy being with my family and friends. My two daughters are the center of my universe!

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

One of my favorite quotes is a popular one from Maya Angelou: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

 

October 2015 Spotlight

Jennifer Krase - Modine Manufacturing

Member Since January 2013

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining?

I am always looking for ways to grow as a leader in my community.  Through Emerging Leaders I have been able to broaden my knowledge of the needs within Racine County, and have met many other professionals that share my desire to serve.  My favorite volunteer experience so far has been the Day of Action, where I and other United Way volunteers made interactive reading kits to help children recognize colors, words, and vegetable/fruit names.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am very passionate about education.  That is one of the reasons I’m a proud supporter of United Way of Racine County.  Many of their initiatives focus on education, starting with 0-5 years (Imagination Library), continuing to adolescence (Schools of Hope and Youth as Resources), and all the way to adulthood (Advancing Family Assets).  These programs provide a valuable education that encourages success.  

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

What I find the most rewarding in my career is that I serve others.  I am the person who has the answers, or if I don’t have them I know how to get them.  I am really good at understanding context and so-called "reading between the lines."  Using these skills I can communicate well with others and help them to understand things in a way that makes sense to them.   

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

It is ok to start small when volunteering.  You don’t have to devote a crazy amount of time every week/month to be an effective volunteer because every little bit makes a difference.    

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I give to United Way of Racine County because I believe it is the best way to make a financial investment in the community.  I am confident that the money I donate is going to worthwhile causes that have been thoroughly vetted by United Way of Racine County. They are able to see the needs of the community from a broader perspective, and are therefore able to invest the money in ways that will make the biggest impact.  

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I consider learning one of my hobbies – I love to learn about things that interest me for both my own knowledge and so that I can be a resource to others. I also enjoy gardening, cooking, following the stock market, and riding my bike.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt  I like this quote because to me, it sums up the difference between a leader and a manager.  The leaders in my life I have respected the most have been right there, walking through the fire with me.

 

September 2015 Spotlight

Rebecca Mason - Rebecca Mason Law LLC

       

                        Member Since January 2013

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining?

I was already involved with United Way and committed to the work the organization does here in Racine County. I was impressed that United Way wanted to identify and encourage the next generation of leaders who will take United Way and its mission into the future. I am honored to serve as one of them.

The volunteer experiences I enjoy the most are ones that allow me to include my entire family. Our children are six, four, and three. Including them in our volunteer activities allows us to spend time as a family and teaches them the importance of giving back and community at an early age.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I feel strongly about giving everyone a chance to achieve his or her potential. The work United Way does to help prepare young children to succeed in school and prepare graduates to succeed in the workplace is critically important.

I am also passionate about our schools. Our kids attend (or will attend when old enough) Racine Unified Schools. Ensuring their success is important not just to my family, but also to the entire community’s ability to thrive.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

As an attorney, I get to help people.  Most notably, through my estate planning practice I have the opportunity to help people plan for the future to take care of their loved ones. I also have the incredibly rewarding privilege of working with individuals and families through the difficult time after the loss of a loved one. 

I have wanted to be an attorney since I was ten. I have been fortunate to be in the profession I have always wanted. Starting my own business and law practice exceeded my expectations. It has allowed me to work in the community I call home, volunteer my time with United Way and the Racine Zoo, and be closer to my family. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

My donations to the greater Racine community through United Way have more impact because they are harnessed with the donations of others, and United Way ensures that my funds go where there is the most need and where they will be used responsibly. United Way also tries to ensure that the dollars spent will have a real impact in moving our community forward.

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

The reason I began giving to the United Way was because of how simple it was. Through my employer I simply signed up and designated an amount. I never missed the money from my pay because it was a relatively small amount and it automatically went to the United Way to support the community. Over the years as my awareness has grown about the impact the United Way has on the community so has my financial contribution, because I trust that through their review process the United Way makes sure the funds get to the agencies and programs that best represent the community as a whole.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

All of my hobbies are centered around my family and spending time together.  We spend a lot of time at the Racine Zoo, Zoo Beach, River Bend, in the YMCA pool, and on our bicycles.  One of the many things we love about our community is how many options are available to families like ours.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” –Margaret Mead

 

August 2015 Spotlight

Timothy Dustman - CNH Industrial

Member Since January 2013
Executive Committee Member Since May 2015

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining?

Becoming an Emerging Leader gives me a chance to directly impact the community through volunteerism while networking with other area professionals that are also committed to giving back to the community. My experience volunteering at the Women’s Resource Center was very rewarding.  Not only was I able to volunteer my time, I was able to share the experience with my family that volunteered along with me.  Having my daughter hear the direct impact of the work we did for the Resource Center will be a lifelong lesson on the importance and ease of helping others.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

The Racine County issue that I’m most passionate about is our infant mortality rate. The rate in Racine continues to exceed National and State averages, and impacts families at a disproportionate rate here.  My own awareness of the issue began with the premature birth of my first daughter and spending time on a patient advisory board and hearing stories of less fortunate families that lost their child.  As a member of Leadership Racine I had the fortune of being part of a wonderful team that put together a day of learning for the community and continue to keep this issue close and look for ways to participate in making a change.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

The most rewarding part of my career at CNH Capital Industrial is sharing my day with dedicated individuals who look forward to having a positive impact on the farming and construction industry and the dealer network that supports them.  Having the opportunity everyday to share knowledge and develop best practices with coworkers keeps me motivated in my goal of developing people and improving processes. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

I would advise others to volunteer because of the positive impact it has on the community.   There will always be a lack of financial resources for most agencies and programs that support the community and a small amount of an individual’s time can make a big difference.  Volunteering also sets a good example for those around you and by becoming an advocate for volunteerism you can help to recruit others in the community to donate their time making an even greater impact.

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

The reason I began giving to the United Way was because of how simple it was. Through my employer I simply signed up and designated an amount. I never missed the money from my pay because it was a relatively small amount and it automatically went to the United Way to support the community. Over the years as my awareness has grown about the impact the United Way has on the community so has my financial contribution, because I trust that through their review process the United Way makes sure the funds get to the agencies and programs that best represent the community as a whole.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I like to remain active with outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and hiking. My love for the outdoors is centered on spending time with family and friends away from our busy lives.  I can’t think of a less stressful moment then sitting around a campfire sharing laughs and stories after a day spent enjoying nature.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give – Winston Churchill

 

July 2015 Spotlight

Joseph Cronin - Robert W. Baird & Co

                       Member Since January 2013
            Executive Committee Member Since May 2015

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

I am a Racine native, and I wear this as a badge of honor. The Racine community has bestowed upon both me and my family countless blessings. I truly feel that our community is unique in many ways. That being said; like any community, we are not without our challenges. I have always felt very strongly about giving back more than I receive. I feel that this coincides with the mission of the United Way of Racine County and the Emerging Leaders. I am lucky to be involved with many different non-profit organizations throughout Racine. Since my involvement, I have seen the massive impact that the United Way of Racine County has on numerous organizations. I felt it imperative to support the United Way based on all that they do to improve the community which I hold so dear. I am lucky enough to be on the Emerging Leaders Executive Committee with other community oriented people.

Since joining the Emerging Leaders, my favorite volunteer experience has been helping at the Women’s Resource Center. Knowing that my volunteering at this facility directly increased the number of people in my community to which they are able to serve is an amazing feeling. This is just one of the numerous examples where the Emerging Leaders have made a major impact in Racine County.   

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am most passionate about education. A strong education builds a solid foundation upon which a community is built. I feel that education is a lifelong endeavor. Each day that I learn something new I consider that day to be a success. Education is not limited to something that we only experience in our school systems. We also experience education in everyday life. This education can be learning math, enhancing one’s job skills, or becoming aware that resources are available in a community if a person ever needs them. The United Way of Racine County helps provide these educational opportunities along with many more to people within our community.  

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

I am lucky when it comes to my career. I have my dream job and because of that it has never felt like “work”. That being said, I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of clients by helping them achieve their financial goals. Being a Financial Advisor with Robert W. Baird is extremely rewarding because I am able to work with my clients over very long periods of time; sometime for generations. I get to know them and their family. I also get to see the smiles on their faces when we succeed at achieving those financial goals which we have outlined. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

I think Winston Churchill says it best with this quote “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

A community is only as strong as the people in that community who want to make it better. Over the years I have heard several people say negative things about our community. Each time I hear this I wonder if that person has done anything to help make it better. By volunteering in our community we can truly have a positive impact. Live by those simple words of Winston Churchill: make a life by volunteering.  

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I give to the United Way of Racine County because I know that each organization that the United Way supports has a positive impact on our community. The three main initiatives that the United Way of Racine County supports are education, income and health. These are things that each person in our community should have. The United Way of Racine County brings us closer to achieving this with every dollar received. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I have many hobbies and new ones are always being thrown into the mix. As these questions probably indicate, one of my main hobbies is volunteering with various organizations which I hold dear. I also enjoy various activities which allow me to spend time with friends and family. Some of those include; cooking, playing golf, dining out, playing hockey and exercising. 

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

One book that I always go back to is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This is a terrific book about how we should live lives and do business. It is “the secret” to having a great life by giving. 

 

June 2015 Spotlight

Gina Sorenson - US Bank

                            Member Since January 2013
            Executive Committee Member Since April 2015

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

I first joined Emerging Leaders in 2013 as a way to become more connected to the Racine community. By being more involved, I felt I could make a greater impact, not only through my own volunteerism, but by being an advocate for United Way and the agencies they support. Knowledge is power.

One of my favorite experiences with Emerging Leaders was the tour of The Racine County Food Bank and the work in the community garden that followed. We were able to see the tremendous impact that food and monetary donations have in our area and how many lives are helped by the work of this organization. Afterward, we were able to help out in the garden. I was able to involve my son during this event, which was an opportunity for me to demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community regardless of your age.  

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

The issue that I am most passionate about is education. When I read the Community Indicators Report and saw the graduation rate for Racine Unified was 73.4% in 2013, my heart sank.  Although this is an increase over prior years, it is still very low compared to other areas in Racine County and around the state. Children are our future and we need to make sure they are equipped with the education and opportunities to be successful when they enter the workforce. Increased graduation rates would help with income and health issues in Racine County.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

I feel I am living my dream job. Working with US Bank, I am able to help clients achieve their financial goals and dreams. Whether a client needs help with how to balance a checkbook, coaching around budgeting, or a loan to expand their business, I am able to assist them. US Bank also encourages all of us to give back to the community in which we live and work. Through programs such as paid volunteer time and employee matched giving, we are able to dedicate time and money to the organizations that need it the most. I cannot imagine a more rewarding career. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

I believe if you are in a position in which you have an opportunity to give back, it is your responsibility to do so.  Part of being an active community member is being able to lift up the lives of your fellow neighbors. It is good for the heart and soul of the volunteer and recipient. I have never met someone that has said, “I wish I would not have given my time….” 

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

My passion for the United Way began when I found out how many of the organizations that I worked with were supported through the United Way.  Most would not be able to fund many of their programs without the generous support of United Way, and I have seen the impact these organizations have had on members of our community. These organizations and programs make our community a better place to live and raise our families.  

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

My greatest hobby is learning.  I find myself consistently seeking out opportunities to add to my education. I love to read and learn. My other hobbies include traveling, cooking, motorcycling, and spending time with my family.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

My favorite book that everyone should read is “Attitude is Everything,” by Jeff Keller.  This book has changed my outlook and approach to life. I highly recommend it!

 

May 2015 Spotlight

Nikki Payne - SEWRPC

                         Member Since August 2014

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

As a person who lives outside of Racine, but works in Racine, I wanted to learn more about the community - and what better way to learn about the community than to volunteer.  

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

Adequate transportation for viable businesses to attract and retain workers. It will also help retain millennials by seeing the beauty in Racine. 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

I am working my dream job! Every day I get a chance to educate Wisconsinites about things that affect them, like transportation, land use, and the environment. But more importantly, I help give them a voice in the decisions that are made. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

I am a firm believer of PAYING IT FORWARD. I have been blessed many times by others and I want to PAY IT FORWARD. 

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I support the United Way of Racine's philosophy of providing the opportunities to help Racine residents prepare for a better life and not just provide services after the fact. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

Travel, scrapbooking, and culinary experiences. 

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

“To whom much who is given, much is expected."

 

April 2015 Spotlight

Victor Frasher - Educators Credit Union

Member Since January 2013
Executive Committee Member Since May 2015

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

To help give back to my community that has given me so much. Being a lifelong Racine resident, I know and have seen the greatness our community can offer.  Advancing Family Assets's annual Holiday Party is my favorite United Way Event to volunteer for each year.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am most passionate about youth financial literacy.  We must do a better job as a community of educating our youth to be informed, confident and financially savvy consumers.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

In my role as High School Branch Program Manager, I get to work with youth on financial literacy each and every day.

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

Decisions are made by those who show up. Be the change you would like to see in your community.

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

United Way of Racine County is the best way for my donation to have the most impact on my community.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I am a huge Sci Fi fan and love playing volleyball.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

“Nowadays people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde

 

 

March 2015 Spotlight

Laura Caputo - SC Johnson

Executive Committee Member               Since January 2015

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

I grew up in a family passionate about supporting their community. Giving your time and skills to help others was treated as a hobby – something to find enjoyment and fulfillment in. When I moved to the Racine area, from Michigan in 2009 after college, I immediately sought out organizations which matched my interests as an opportunity to learn about my new community and get connected. I’ve been able to participate in small, one-time volunteer opportunities as well as serve on boards of two agencies. One of these agencies went through the United Way partnership application process requesting funding and I was impressed and inspired by the level of rigor and dedication the UW team applies to potential partner agencies. I knew I wanted to be a part of this dedicated team driving change, so I decided to become an Emerging Leader as it seemed like a great opportunity to learn about the full spectrum of United Way’s impact and a great way to meet other philanthropic-minded people. I’m looking forward to attending my first EL event on April 18th – the Emerging Leader ‘Care for Your Community’ event during National Volunteer Week.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I’m most passionate about ending the stigmas surrounding mental health and ensuring all Racine County residents have access to mental health professionals. As someone who has suffered from severe anxiety and depression and worked with the healthcare system to manage these illnesses, I know firsthand both the debilitation they cause and how much benefit is driven by proper support networks. Similar to traditional physical illnesses, with proper support and care mental health issues can often be managed to improve quality of life.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

The most rewarding part of my career is, although on a small scale, the ability to solve people’s problems.  Working at SC Johnson in Marketing, we’re always working to understand our customers' issues and how we can deliver to them the best product possible. I’ve also had great opportunities at SCJ to engage and inspire coworkers by serving on our Women’s Business Council steering committee and an internal marketing programming group. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

If you have the capability to volunteer, there’s someone in your community who needs you.  I’ve never met a person who has been passionate about something or had a hobby that couldn’t significantly improve the life of someone else. There are so many amazing agencies advancing all aspects of our community that you can find some way to improve the life of someone else with the things you already enjoy today.

Volunteering can be so enjoyable when you make it work for you and your passions. If you love cooking, provide a meal at a shelter or help teach families how to prepare balanced meals. If you’re a medical professional, join opportunities for free screening days and provide referrals to accessible healthcare.

Volunteering is not a one-size fits all experience. Finding the right mission and time commitment, whether once a year or once a month, will impact someone’s life.

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I give to the United Way of Racine County because I know every dollar I give to them will be distributed to agencies or programs that have been vetted for financial stability and programming excellence.  The United Wayof Racine County helps me feel good that my dollar is doing the most good possible for the community.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

Volunteering (if that isn’t already apparent), travelling to see family and friends, camping, and just trying new things!

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi

A great book I’m reading now is "The 50th Law," by Robert Greene and 50 Cent – it’s about driving success in life through a single principle: fear nothing.

 

 

February 2015 Spotlight

Casey McIntosh - Modine


                           Executive Committee Member
                                Since January 2013

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

I grew up in Racine and love all that our city has to offer, but also see the challenges that we face and want to help promote and implement positive change.  I’ve really liked volunteering for our community gardens. They provide fresh, local produce and education on growing your own food to those in need.

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

Early childhood education – I believe there is no greater benefit than starting out on the right foot.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

I enjoy a career in engineering because it presents challenging problems that require critical thinking to resolve – not unlike the social issues that need our attention.

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

I’ll quote Dr. Seuss who wrote, ““Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”   Emerging Leaders connects concerned individuals with opportunities to use their talents to improve our community.

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

I give to the United Way because I know my money will be directed toward efforts intended to make the greatest impact on the areas of greatest need.  Also, Modine matches United Way contributions, something I’d recommend to all employers.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I love the outdoors – camping, backpacking, biking, sailing, scuba diving…

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” from "Walden," by Henry David Thoreau – I’d recommended for anyone aspiring to live a simple, full life.

 

 

January 2015 Spotlight 

Timothy Batten - Twin Disc

 

Executive Committee Member 
 Since January 2013

Q: Why did you decide to become an Emerging Leader and what has been your favorite volunteer experience since joining? 

Racine is my hometown, and I am very proud of it!  The lighthouse, Main Street, kringle—I could go on!  But like any community, we face certain challenges, and they need to be addressed head on.  When I moved back to Racine three years ago, I wanted to get involved with philanthropy.  I’d known about the important work that United Way performed in Racine County by aligning individuals, businesses and government/non-profit organizations to address our most pressing issues.  Emerging Leaders offers a great network for young professionals to learn about and have an impact on their community.  I was fortunate to join Emerging Leaders as a part of the executive committee when it was launched; it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to help grow the membership and influence how the program has taken shape.

Racine’s proximity to Lake Michigan is an amazing asset for the community.  My favorite volunteer activity thus far was being part of an Emerging Leaders group that cleaned up the beach behind the Racine Zoo and Lake View Park for Day of Caring.   

Q: What Racine County issue are you most passionate about and why?

I am most passionate about education because it provides the essential tools to succeed not only in the classroom, but also throughout life.  Whether it’s learning to read, going through training to get a better job, or maintaining your family’s finances, a good education empowers people to address the challenges that they will inevitably face.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career or what is your dream job?

What do irrigation pumps in Nebraska, tug boats in the Panama Canal and oil field equipment in China have in common?  Twin Disc products.  The most rewarding part of my job is interacting with the wide array of customers around the world on a daily basis. 

Q: What advice would you give to others about the importance of volunteering?

There are aspects of our lives that are often taken for granted: a job, a roof over our head, food on the table, good health, a supportive family.  At the same time, we have people in this community who lack one or more of these essential elements in life.  The most important part of volunteering is having a positive impact on those who are less fortunate.  Through United Way there are opportunities to have a direct impact, from teaching children how to read to stocking food for those who cannot afford it. 

Q: Why do you give to the United Way of Racine County?

If you want to donate to have a positive impact on our community, I cannot think of a better recipient than United Way of Racine County.  They focus on the three critical building blocks that lead to a quality life: education, income and health.  The level of due diligence that goes into selecting their partner providers who receive funding is extremely thorough and results are closely tracked.  More importantly, United Way of Racine County understands that while we need to address the short-term needs facing the community, we also need to lay the foundation for the future.  Several programs have been put into place to set our next generation up for success, such as Schools of Hope to improve literacy amongst children and Advancing Family Assets to promote prudent financial planning for families. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I love to cook...it’s kind of an obsession, actually.  When I am not in the kitchen, I like to play tennis, ski, read, travel, and laugh. 

Q: What’s your favorite quote or favorite book you think everyone should read?

"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second best time is now." --Chinese Proverb