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Enhance Your Career by Giving Back

By: Martha Emmett

Most successful people truly believe that there is a responsibility to give back; there is no greater feeling than knowing your words and actions have helped to make a difference in someone’s life. But there are also other benefits that may enhance our careers, and it is OK to unapologetically acknowledge them.

Provides inspiration for new business ideas. Whether you are serving on a nonprofit’s board of directors, speaking to youth about the importance of following their dreams or to college students about careers, or helping an organization with their business strategy, realizations are prompted of what’s missing and what voids need to be filled. This new inspiration can lead to new business ideas and ventures that can help you, your team or your entire organization move one step closer in closing gaps in your community.

I volunteer with my co-workers on teaching financial literacy. Volunteering in the local schools let us know that these classes were needed at a younger age. Presently, my organization, BancorpSouth, is one of the few organizations offering a financial literacy curriculum for youth in city school systems across the company’s footprint.

"Volunteering and contributing to important causes in your community can put you at the table with other influencers and can give your organization leverage among your community’s power players."

Builds confidence. Your self-assurance is given a boost and overall confidence builds when you see firsthand the impact that you have on others. This confidence can transcend from community work to the office and give you better self-assurance to push forward in your career.

Expands our network and broadens leadership development opportunities. You never know if someone you helped on a project could be a part of your organization in the future. Volunteering and contributing to important causes in your community can put you at the table with other influencers and can give your organization leverage among your community’s power players.

I remember my very first board appointment for a very large nonprofit that provided youth services, housing counseling and workforce development training. After my first year, I was voted development chair. Ironically, this board appointment allotted me the invaluable opportunity to spend quality time with a very high-level executive in my own organization.

When you work hard to make your community a better place, it shines a positive light on you and your organization. When new competition moves into town, the goodwill that we have collectively established will make it more difficult for that competition to take away our customers. That said, building goodwill within the community benefits your career, your company and your community as well.

Martha Emmett, SHRM-SCP, CISR, serves as Director of Strategic Programs and HR Consultant for BXS Insurance.

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