Emerging Leaders Spotlight Page

June 2016 Spotlight

        Jennifer Plocinski - Goodwill Talent Bridge


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 believe in the vision and mission of United Way and I wanted to not only be a part of the change but raise awareness of the programs. My favorite volunteer experience thus far, has been the Care for Your Community Event. I brought my 5 year old daughter and we were able to spend 4 hours cleaning up and painting. We had a lot of fun and it’s great to know that something simple like painting the walls can have an impact on the mood and demeanor of the residents. 

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

This one is tough for me. I am split between education and development opportunities for our youth and creating a stronger more educated workforce in Racine County. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a big fan of the direction United Way is headed with its community impact projects such as the Community Schools. 

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

As a Professional Recruiter and Client Development Specialist, I make an impact on people’s lives every day. I work with both clients and candidates to meet their needs. This includes everything from job coaching, resume writing/instruction, and sharing interview techniques to quite simply matching candidates to client’s hiring needs. My favourite part of the job is when I get to see a candidate be successful. 

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

First and foremost, I would tell someone considering volunteering to make sure they choose an opportunity that fits them. When you become a volunteer, you are choosing to donate your time to a specific cause. Your time is valuable, so don’t spend it going through the motions. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of volunteer opportunities in Racine County, so spend your time doing something you are passionate about. For example. If you are greatly concerned about the treatment and well-being of animals, volunteering at an animal shelter will help you address a social problem that is meaningful to you. It is important for us to BE the change that we’d like to see in our community. What better way to do it than dedicating your time to a cause you love. 

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

I guess one could say after 15 years in Human Resources and Staffing, I have made it my mission to make a positive impact on helping be a resource for employees, employers and job seekers throughout the community. My career and passions align very closely with the focus of working towards building an educated workforce by focusing on education, income and health: the building blocks for a good life.

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

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

 

May 2016 Spotlight

        Ashley Staeck - Johnson Foundation


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 wanted to make a difference in my community alongside my peers. It is a great way to connect with other young Racinians who are looking to make Racine a better place to live, work, and play. Although I’ve been to other Emerging Leader events, I am looking forward to my first volunteer event with Emerging Leaders at the food sort and distribution for Racine Unified School District students at the John Bryant Community Center. 

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

I am most passionate about addressing the mental health needs of the children in Racine County. Did you know approximately 20% of children have a diagnosable mental health disorder and 80% of them do not receive the services they need? We face huge challenges when it comes to getting mental health services to the kids and families that need them most. 

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

As a Program Officer at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, I have the privilege to work directly with community leaders to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the Racine community. The Foundation has facilitated conversations and community collaborations to address issues like African American infant mortality, school readiness, and children’s mental health. 

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

So many non-profits and community organizations would not be able to achieve their missions if not for the dedication of volunteers. Organizations need you! They need your connections, your skills and your time. And who doesn’t love to feel needed?  

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

I give to United Way of Racine County because of all of the different organizations and programs that benefit from United Way’s collective resources. United Way is a leader in our community; constantly striving to find innovative ways to meet the unique needs of Racine County. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

My husband, Neil, and I love to travel and get outdoors whenever we can. We just added a baby to our family, so my real hobby right now is SLEEP!

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's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

April 2016 Spotlight

        Danae Haarsma - CNH Industrial


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 to give back my community. I have lived here my entire life and feel it’s important for me to give back.

My favorite experience so far was painting the Born Learning Trail at North Beach for the Day of Caring. My entire family came and joined in the fun.

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

The issue I’m most passionate about is education.  Education is the foundation for our children. A high quality education changes lives and opens up opportunities for individuals to be successful. Hopefully those successful individuals will give back to the communities they live and work in.

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 Industrial Capital is leading a great team that takes pride in their work. I also enjoy assisting other departments with questions or problems. I like the feeling of accomplishment I get when I help resolve an issue and all the parties involved are pleased with the outcome.

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

Volunteering really makes you feel good. A little time and effort can go a long way and make a big difference to those you are helping.  

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

I have donated to United Way through my workplace campaign for several years. It’s easy to do and I know that my donation supports United Way in making a positive impact on the community. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy camping, reading, watching movies, traveling to new places, and most of all spending time with family and friends.

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

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”  ~Helen Keller~


March 2016 Spotlight

        Kora Plucinski - SC Johnson


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

After purchasing a home in Burlington, it became an easy decision to become an Emerging Leader knowing my efforts were going towards making a better world where I both lived and worked. Emerging Leaders is a program I thought as a young professional allowed me to use my skill set in a unique way to enhance the community around me. Some of my favorite volunteer experiences involve the schools of Racine County and providing resources for the children to have the best school experience possible!

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

Education is the issue I am most passionate about and the future of our youth. The investment we dedicate to the growth of the children in Racine County will have significant returns in the future for the community. The education a child receives impacts him or her on numerous levels: intellectual, emotional, social, and even physical.

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

The most rewarding part of my career is that I am challenged on a daily basis and I get the opportunity to work with some great individuals. I love that my job allows me to work with other talented individuals that support one another and push each other to deliver 110%. Being challenged is critical to growing and developing as a professional and in your personal life. 

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

Volunteering is important because we as individuals will make change and can impact our surrounding environment with a little passion and time. Volunteering is a rewarding experience and one that has returns for all parties involved. When you volunteer you are improving from yesterday, growing today, and investing in tomorrow!   

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

I give to United Way because it impacts the community in which I live and work in a range of ways. I give to United Way because the way the investments are managed I truly believe will have the maximize return. I give to United Way because it is not solving one issue, but is investing in issues across the spectrum of needs in Racine County.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

In my free time I enjoy running, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. Despite the cold weather at times, I enjoy spending time outdoors being active and exploring the natural beauty of south-eastern Wisconsin. I am a UW Wisconsin Alumni and have a deep love for Badger Athletics; so you will find me watching or attending sporting games each season.

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

One of my favourite quotes is by Vince Lombardi: “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit.” This quote reminds me to work hard and that working hard has payoffs. Those payoffs only come when you make hard work a habit and really put the time and 110% effort in.


February 2016 Spotlight

Aroon Viswanathan - Modine Manufacturing  


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 as I feel that the youth have a strong impact on the community. EL being a part of the United Way of Racine County, works with the partner providers and provides its members a better perspective of what the needs in the community are. Volunteer events organized by EL provide an excellent opportunity to understand the conditions under which these non-profits work and recognize what their needs are.

My favorite volunteer experience was working with Patti Nagi and her group of master gardeners at the Racine County food bank. Congratulations to Patti on her retirement.

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

Homelessness is the issue I’m most passionate about in the Racine community. I served on the board of Homeless Assistance and Leadership Organization (HALO Inc.) for more than 5 years. During this time, I got a very good perspective of the challenges that the people undergoing homelessness go through and what HALO has done to lead them towards self-sufficiency. I personally like the HALO program because it is based on the concept of accountability – anyone who is willing to make a change in his/her life and works through the program sees benefits. 

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

The most rewarding part of my career at Modine has been working with colleagues who work as a team. The processes and policies at Modine are designed to effectively bring together a group of individuals who strive for continual improvement of the team. They truly believe that there is no ‘I’ in TEAM. I have been fortunate to be a part of a company that turns 100 this year.

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

Volunteering can make a significant impact on other lives. Quite often people used to corporate culture may find non-profits to be messy. This is not because of choice, but because of the lack of resources, as the staff in a non-profit wears multiple hats. This is where volunteering helps fill the gap.

Volunteering does not need to be big – but the commitment is important. Do not over commit. The volunteer coordinator would appreciate if say that you’d be able to help out once a month and see you there that day rather than committing for a weekly volunteering activity and showing up once a month.     

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

HALO, as well as other shelters throughout the country, saw drastic cuts in government funding over the past few years, which coincided with my tenure on their board. Several other non-profits face the same challenge. Organizations like United Way of Racine County help bridge this gap in funding through their campaigns and contributions to their partner providers. This is the primary reason I give to United Way of Racine County.

I have also had an opportunity to serve on one of the investment committees where I got an opportunity to experience first-hand as to how UWRC ensures that the funds, raised through the campaigns, are appropriately assigned to the partner providers. 

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I love running. I try to run 4 – 5 long distance races every year. Other than running, I love to travel. My wife and I are working on visiting all the 50 states in US before 2018. We have visited 37 states so far, with 13 more to visit. 

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

The quote - “No one can do everything but everyone can do something” by Max Lucado is something that comes to my mind that I’d wish everyone should read. A net sum of the little help from several people can make a big impact in the community. 


 
January 2016 Spotlight
Neil Staeck - Community State Bank 
 
 

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 I joined Emerging Leaders to allow myself the opportunity to meet other young professionals in the Racine area.

I’ve photographed the Advancing Family Assets (AFA) holiday party for a number of years, and would say that’s my favorite event I’ve volunteered at since joining.

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

Racine gets a bad rap sometimes, and I’m passionate about overcoming that. I feel compelled to emphasize the many positive things Racine has to offer. We’ve got our challenges like any other city, but I think it’s a beautiful place to live, and the people here are wonderful. 

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

As a commercial banker, I love developing relationships with business owners and helping them reach their goals. I really enjoy what I do because I get to work with a variety of people that are in many different lines of work. It’s always fun learning about a business, and intriguing to me how many ways there are to make a living.

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

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to feel happy, then I would suggest volunteering. I think everyone has something to gain by devoting even a small amount of their time to service work. It’s an essential ingredient in a strong community, and there is a never-ending list of opportunities. It’s also a great way to meet people. I have several different “families” that I wouldn’t have otherwise had if it weren’t for the different volunteer activities I take part in regularly.    

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

When I give to United Way of Racine County with my time or money, I know that I’m making a direct impact in my community. I also know that I’m contributing to an organization that I trust. Their initiatives, and those of the partner providers they work with, make Racine County healthier. We all benefit from the services they offer, whether it be directly or indirectly.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

In my free time I enjoy photography, rock climbing, brewing beer, traveling, cheering on Wisconsin sports teams, and laughing with my friends and family.

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

My favorite quote is: “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” - Winston Churchill


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