Making A Difference
Waldron employees aren’t just dedicated to their work;
they are committed to making a difference in the communities they serve.
Waldron in the Community
Waldron Volunteer Highlights:
Grant A Wish
We recognize Monica Sobolewski, Associate in Executive Search, for her time with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
During her Junior and Senior years in college, Monica interned for the Volunteer and Wishes departments at Make-a-Wish foundation, working with staff and wish-granting volunteers to help make kids’ wishes come true. Now, Monica serves as a wish-granting volunteer, creating a bridge between the family and child, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation to ensure they match the true spirit of the child’s wish. Kids 2-18 will wish things from becoming a mermaid, to getting new uniforms for their school sports teams. Astonishingly, the foundation provides one wish every 40 minutes in the U.S.
The volunteers at Make-a-Wish need to figure out exactly how to realize each dream. “The kids have this contagious optimism despite hardship,” Monica notes. “It’s really great to see how the kids just want to have fun and help others despite what they are going through.” Monica fondly remembers one child who wished to be a superhero, as long as his brother could come along too. Make-a-Wish foundation helped organize a day of superhero fun where the boy, as superhero Red Lightning, saved Seattle’s music scene from a dastardly villain. Throughout the wish, the foundation assures total medical care for the child so that the family can focus on spending quality time together worry free of hospital visits and medication.
“I am fortunate enough not to have endured what these kids and their families live through, yet the kids are still so innocent and optimistic and have a happy view of the world and what they can do to help and enjoy it.” Elaborating on her love of helping children, Monica continues:
“If I can help extend a ray of hope and excitement in their lives to shift the focus away from the hospital and focus on family, then that is great.” Time is so precious. If these kids can teach us something, it is that no matter what you are going through, optimism, hope, family, and giving back is contagious and fulfilling. Help bring happiness to somebody’s life today.
For more on Make-a-Wish, go to www.wish.org.
Monica Sobolewski | Associate in Executive Search
Waldron supports the work our employees do in their communities.
Social good and progress are cornerstones at Waldron.
We want to thank our employees for the work they do in their communities and will continue to highlight our team member volunteer efforts.
- Carol Sage-Silverstein | A Promise of Hope
Waldron is proud to acknowledge the volunteer work and commitments of Carol Sage-Silverstein, Senior Consultant in Career Transition Services, to Jewish Family Services here in Seattle.
Carol uses her years of experience as a career transition and cross cultural coach to help immigrants adjust to American professional culture, and the nuances of the job search process. She works to ‘train the trainers.’ Namely, she designs some of the programs and workshops that recent immigrants can attend to help gain their professional footing in what can be a very difficult transition. The workshops give people the tools to help them understand aspects of their own culture that may have been too ubiquitous to be visible while in their native countries, and that often differ sharply from American customs. “In order to understand another culture, people have to be able to understand and talk about their own, which most of us never have to think about when we are in our native countries,” says Carol in reference to the culture shock immigrants can experience while adjusting to their new location. This building of cross-cultural literacy, or “bridge-building” as she calls it, is key for immigrants to eventually find and succeed in jobs. While some workshop attendees have been in the US for several months, some have arrived only days before. This means that the volunteers have to account for a diverse audience with different degrees in understanding of American culture. However, the participants she is working with do have something in common: they are for the most part highly educated and left middle-class jobs in their native countries.
Carol says adjusting expectations of what their first job in the US will likely be is usually the hardest message to get across. Many of the immigrants come from countries where working in a factory is extremely demeaning, and are hesitant to consider accepting such positions. After working hard to receive master’s and PH.d’s from prestigious universities abroad, immigrants want to enter into the American workforce at the same level from which they exited their own. “Who wouldn’t”? she says. It is frustrating for a doctor to accept work as a taxi driver in the US because a degree or certification doesn’t translate internationally.
However, there is a promise of hope. While mentoring and coaching, Carol and her JFS counterpart are creating avenues to introduce and connect recent immigrants to individuals that are further down this path, and assure them that others before them have made strides. She tries to emphasize that their first job in this country doesn’t necessarily reflect what they will be doing in 5, 10 or 15 years. While many immigrants’ perceptions and expectations of American life are heavily influenced by celebrities seen in the media, taking factory jobs and working up from the bottom is the story of the American immigrant.
While she has only been working with the organization since December of 2015, Carol says that the volunteering has been very fulfilling and eye-opening. Sage-Silverstein says that outside of creating these workshops and eventually training trainers, she sometimes meets with individuals and families to provide more personalized guidance. She says the range of life stories and short-term goals vary widely. Some refugee immigrants have experienced trauma or political persecution in their own countries, and want the consistency of a low-pressure job that might appear repetitive and boring to others. Some have waited years in a third country while the vetting process is in place. Whatever their goals, cultural literacy and a supportive community are essential to a productive transition.
To read more on this Seattle mentoring program, please check out this recent Seattle Times article.
About Jewish Family Services
Jewish Family Services, founded in the late 19th century, helps vulnerable individuals and families across the globe achieve well-being, health, and stability, both in and outside of the Jewish community. Their services span a range of potential needs; counseling for survivors of domestic violence, adults with cognitive disabilities, underserved elderly, individuals with food-insecurities, as well as refugees and immigrants. Please visit the Jewish Family Services website to learn more.
Carol Sage-Silverstein | Senior Consultant, Career Transition Services
- Chris Cannon | Change in Focus
Photo credit: Jacqueline L., Youth in Focus alumni
We would like to recognize Engagement Manager in Executive Search, Chris Cannon on his volunteer service with Youth in Focus. Youth in Focus puts cameras in the hands of at-risk youth and teaches them how to develop negatives into positives.
After moving to Seattle several years ago, Chris sought out photography clubs and meet-up groups in order to meet new people and hone his skills. While they were a fun opportunity to expand his social circle, he felt that his passion for photography and nonprofit background could be better utilized. “When I saw some photos from Youth in Focus hanging in a coffee shop,” Chris said, “I realized that this is an organization that I should support.”
Chris began volunteering with Youth in Focus back in 2015, and recently joined the Board of Directors. And as a member of the Events and Fundraising Committee, Chris continues to find coffee shops, restaurants, and other businesses for Youth in Focus photography shows that present student work to the world. Many thanks to Chris for bringing a piece of Youth in Focus to Waldron as March of 2016 marked the opening of a display of Youth in Focus student photographs in our Seattle office.
For Chris, the highlight of the program is the End of Quarter Show where students have the chance to display their final work at the end of each term. The show offers a platform for each student to present a self-portrait and a favorite photograph they feel best represents their story, which often results in unguarded glimpses into the difficulties each of them face and how their cohort, teachers, and this wonderful program have helped them.
Photography acts as a tool to breakdown and interpret issues the students face in everyday life. “What is great about Youth in Focus” says Chris “is that the teachers are not saying this is how you have to fix that problem, but rather photography provides a metaphor for the student to understand and work through challenges while learning an artful way to express their feelings.” Youth in Focus provides a safe place to be open, artistic, and discuss issues grappled by at-risk youth ages 13-19.
As students become more senior, they are provided with opportunities to shoot professional headshots for individuals and even entire companies. The program offers the student a chance to gain professional experience, build confidence in their abilities, and generates funds to continue Youth in Focus programs for future at-risk youth.
As Chris continues his journey with Youth in Focus, more students have their work displayed for the world to see and support. Something as fun and artistic as photography can have deep meaning for those who need it.
Learn more about Youth in Focus on their website.
Chris Cannon | Engagement Manager, Executive Search
- Christy Kim | A Good Life
Waldron is happy to acknowledge the volunteer work of Christy Kim, Waldron Senior Associate, at Greyhound Pets Inc.
When Christy passed a Greyhound Pets Inc. booth advertising the need for additional volunteers, this life-long dog lover knew she had to become involved. Twice a month, Christy will play with the greyhounds at the kennel during their daily “turn outs,” a time when the dogs run in small groups within the facility’s outdoor play area. Christy says the greyhounds prefer short sprints to long runs. After a few romps across the yard, they want to stop for a pet break: “There is a reason they are called 45 mph couch potatoes!”
After several months working with dogs at the kennel, Christy decided to foster a dog in need. Her name is Larn. Greyhounds, especially those retired from racing, can require some extra dedication and patience. Racing dogs are raised in kennels surrounded by both their handlers and many other dogs. As a result, retired dogs can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. Christy noticed that Larn took comfort in mirrors, so she placed a mirror across from her crate to create the illusion of canine company. Helping Larn to become more comfortable and adapted to a regular house hold is an extremely rewarded process for Christy. “At first I had to wake up at 4 am every morning to help her down the stairs and out into the backyard to use the bathroom. It felt like I had a baby. But she’s better adjusted now, and that’s awesome to see.” Since most retired racers have never spent time in a home, the common noises of everyday domestic routines and movement can seem chaotic until new trust and routines can be established.
Greyhounds may have a reputation as speedy race dogs, but Christy and Greyhounds Pets Inc. know that they are much more. The dogs’ loving and lazy disposition make them great companions for the elderly, and fun dogs to be around. With the patience of GPI, and foster families like Christy, the dogs get the care they deserve, and the proper training to live in a great home.
About Greyhound Pets Inc.
Greyhound Pets Inc. is a Woodinville nonprofit dedicated to rescuing retired greyhounds from across the globe and placing them into loving homes. The organization is supported by a handful of paid staff and over 200 volunteers, and has an ambitious mission; to rescue dozens of dogs in-need each year, provide them with full health care service, and conduct successful adoptive and foster services. To find out more about Greyhound Pets Inc. please visit their website.
Christy Kim | Senior Associate
- Heather Mohler | Food and Friendship
Waldron recognizes Senior Associate, Heather Mohler for her volunteer work with youth at Teen Feed.
Heather wanted to find an opportunity to volunteer with youth even though her work absorbed such a significant portion of available time. During her pursuit, Heather tapped her memories working with children aged 8-16 as a camp counselor.
“I loved the interaction I had with kids at that age and realized it was missing from my current day-to-day life; I have some very special memories of helping my campers with first-time experiences or helping them through tough social situations that troubled them. I wanted to find an organization where I could have a similar opportunity to serve as a positive role model or provide guidance and support to youth.”
From online searching, Heather found Teen Feed—a non-profit with a mission to feed, shelter, and provide homeless youth with the support they need to live and grow. “Although Teen Feed is a very different environment than a summer camp, I am really getting to know the Teen Feed guests and offer my support in whatever way they may need.”
Heather contributes time as an advocate volunteer with Teen Feed weekly during dinner, setting up dinners and being there as a friendly ear and familiar face. Many of the teens simply want to chat with somebody who will listen, somebody who also has knowledge of resources Teen Feed can provide, such as the Service Links for Youth (SLY) program that helps teens transfer into life off the streets.
“Many Teen Feed guests do not have other family members or adults they can count on.” Heather says. “Simply asking them how their day is going, or whether or not they got the job they applied to last week can go a long way in showing them there are people who care about them and their well-being. When I put that into perspective, an hour to an hour and a half of my time isn’t that much.” An advocate volunteer offers care and support, even in little ways.
The variety of youth that come to Teen Feed continue to startle Heather despite her frequent visits. Some look like every-day university students on the way to class, while others bear more obvious marks of homelessness. Homelessness does not fit a stereotype and has complex causes. No one deserves neglect, and everyone deserves a hot meal and a chance to talk and grow.
Heather affirms how much effect mutual trust among all Teen Feed youth and staff makes the organization invaluable in every respect. Many of the youth are repeat visitors as they feel safe at the dinners and know it’s a place to relax and be themselves. The organization provides 50-80 youth aged 15-24 with hot dinners every day, all year in the University District and Auburn areas. With rapport of trust and compassion, the dinners provide both food and friendship.
Learn more about Teen Feed on their website.
Heather Mohler | Senior Associate
- Mark Craemer | Give a Voice
Waldron proudly recognizes the volunteer service of Mark Craemer, Senior Consultant with Waldron.
Mark Craemer’s dedication has enriched his experiences and provided exposure to a wealth of venues throughout his adult life. For example, after Mark’s tenure with Social Venture Partners, he became a founding board member of Washington Center for Courage & Renewal.
Washington Center for Courage & Renewal supports teachers who seek more resilience and fulfillment in their careers. Some of their services include programs and retreats to help equip teachers with the tools they need to continue to teach.
We often overlook teachers or blame them for our society’s ills. According to the US Department of Education, 17% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years of teaching. The school schedule may look simple from the outside—a nine-month-a-year job. But the reality is these teachers have to put in a lot more time, and a lot of themselves, into their work.
Washington Center for Courage & Renewal use the philosophies of author and speaker, Parker J. Palmer, which can help teachers feel more appreciation and fulfillment in their jobs. In his book, The Courage to Teach, Palmer says, “… builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher”. Teachers do so much to help others—we need to help them find something for themselves as well.
“I believe the biggest effect on a student’s education is the quality of the teacher in his or her classroom,” says Mark. “Too often the very best educators quit the profession because they are depleted from unreasonable bureaucratic demands compounded by poorly behaved students, unsupportive parents and a society that simply doesn’t appreciate their importance and value.”
Even before Mark had kids of his own, he felt that teacher appreciation and support was of great importance. An educated populous is better for society. Whether one has children or not, whether one is a teacher or not, well-trained, happy and motivated teachers are needed in our communities.
Mark began his higher education as an English major, with some, potential likelihood to become a teacher. After an experience as a clerk-typist in a public middle school, Mark learned how hard and unappreciated the life of a teacher can be. Although Mark changed his path, and graduated with a degree in journalism, he never forgot the importance of showing our teachers the appreciation they deserve—that’s long overdue.
As a PTA board member at his children’s elementary school, Mark not only brought up the
Center for Courage & Renewal, but the PTA allocated financial support to sponsor the school principal for a series of Courage & Renewal group events.
Giving back is not just about money and time, but about understanding and supporting those within our community who need it.
With a continual call to give back to the community, Mark became a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters and wrote letters on behalf of political prisoners as a freedom writer at Amnesty International. With Social Venture Partners, Mark also donated time and expert consulting to help non-profits reach their goals concerning children, education, and the environment at large.
Listen to some of the voices and stories of teachers inspired through the Center for Courage & Renewal.
Mark Craemer | Senior Consultant with Waldron
- Mikkell Roeland | Build a Better World
Waldron proudly recognizes Waldron Search Director Mikkell Roeland for her volunteer service.
Mikkell first felt the call to volunteer when she lived in Los Angeles. Inspired by a group that would help an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, Mikkell went online to search for an orphanage that she and some friends could visit. Mikkell found one, but regrettably heard from the orphanage that she needed to wait at least three months before realizing those plans.
Mikkell’s passion drove her to dig further and find the Casa Hogar Ebenezer, an orphanage in Tijuana with great need, and the right choice for Mikkell.
What greeted the small group of volunteers who arrived in Tijuana with Mikkell were almost a dozen enthusiastic children, and a shack—“if you can even call the structure that”—noted Mikkell. The ‘building’ had less than four walls and a leaking plastic top for a roof.
Mikkell and the other volunteers brought food, toys, books, and gift cards for the Costco and Walmart located nearby so that the orphanage workers could continue to buy food in their absence.
“As corny as it sounds, children are our future,” Mikkell says. “If you help a child, you can change the trajectory of their entire life”. One little girl named Xotchil from Casa Hogar Ebenezer stole Mikkell’s heart, as she would run and jump into her arms every time Mikkell came to Mexico.
Times were not always easy. Mikkell and others had some trouble at the border crossing—and were once pulled over by local police en route. And yet, as Mikkell’s efforts clearly show, perseverance and inspired volunteers can transform an orphanage in a shack into a real home and shelter for 30 children.
That initial Mexican visitation by half a dozen volunteers grew into regular relief missions several times each year, with new provisions and open hearts at the ready every time. After a call for warm blankets and towels, one of the volunteers contacted a friend who promptly allowed the group to take his SUV with 25 blankets and towels directly to the children.
A volunteer group continues to visit Casa Hogar Ebenezer often in support of the children to this day. The four brothers who lead the orphanage leverage their construction experience to improve and expand the home built from results of successful fundraising. Those improvements include electricity throughout the house.
Mikkell, now living in Seattle, Washington, remains passionate about helping children. She has helped build two playgrounds, including the Delta KaBOOM! playground inaugurated in Seattle on Saturday, August 20th, 2016. Mikkell has also spent time volunteering at YouthCare’s Orion Center to provide outreach and resources for homeless youth.
Whatever you’re passionate about, go out and volunteer. What can come of it may surprise you.
Mikkell Roeland | Search Director
- Mohit Chitnis | There's No Place Like Home
We wish to recognize the volunteer service of Mohit Chitnis, Controller and Finance Manager.
Mohit moved to Seattle from the state of Maharashtra, India in his early 20s. Shortly after arriving, Mohit seized the opportunity to help found Seattle Maharashtra Mandal, a nonprofit organization that helps promote Maharashtrian culture within the Seattle community. Maharashtra Mandal produces cultural events for those who miss their home state of Maharashtra.
“It is nice to bring people the culture from their own Indian state, the state which is also mine,” Mohit notes with pride. Mohit has been in many roles at the organization, which include Treasurer for three years, Vice President for two, and President for one. Presently, he continues his volunteering at special events which bring people together to sing, dance, dine, and share Maharashtrian culture and memories.
Mohit currently serves as the Treasurer for Bruhan Maharashtra Mandalof North America. The organization operates as an umbrella organization for different Maharashtrian state organizations throughout the United States and Canada, including the Seattle Maharashtra Mandal Mohit helped found. Mohit is the Treasurer and helps plan the bi-annual convention that celebrates the culture of Maharashtra.
“It takes a lot of planning and a lot of work,” he says, “but it is a great event. We get special guests from Maharashtra to come; politicians, movie stars, artists, athletes, and chefs, which is really special.” Mohit has been particularly excited in the past to see the Capitan of India’s cricket team, who is from Maharashtra himself. 2017 will be the third convention under Mohit’s leadership. Taking place in a different U.S. state each time, the 3-day long celebration unites around 5000 individuals in celebration of their Maharashtrian culture every gathering. “We get good, authentic Maharashtrian food prepared by chefs throughout the event. We don’t get that in the U.S. very often” says Mohit.
Mohit also dedicates his 34 years of experience working in finance to help low-income individuals and families with their taxes and general financial matters. He notices that often retired folks need support the most. Mohit works with a group of friends who regularly volunteer time as work and life demands allow. Some of his retiree friends are able to spend a great deal of their time in service to others. Volunteering around his full-time work schedule, last year alone Mohit helped 80 individuals file their taxes. While it takes a lot of time, energy, and spirit to volunteer, “just remember why you are there and it is better,” Mohit will say. Sometimes a request can be as simple as balancing someone’s bank account.
Use what you know and what you love to make a real difference in somebody’s life.
Mohit Chitnis | Controller and Finance Manager
- Ximena Ospina | Collaboration for a Better World
Waldron is proud to recognize the service of Ximena Ospina, Waldron Associate in Executive Search
, who volunteers on the Fundación E2E board of advisors.
How did you [Ximena] originally learn about an opportunity at Fundación E2E?
During graduate school, I met many incredible individuals with not only the passion, but the skills, cultural sensitivity and expertise to help solve some of our world’s development challenges. One of these individuals is my dear friend Teryn Wolfe, the Founder and Executive Director of Fundación E2E (E2E). Her experience in international development and her desire for change in my motherland, Colombia, was the base of a great friendship. Therefore, as Teryn began developing the idea for E2E, based in Medellin, Colombia, I kept an ear up and began supporting the design of an important project near and dear to my heart.
Is there something in particular that inspires you to volunteer with Fundación E2E?
Spiritually and professionally, I am driven by my vision for a better world—A world where collaboration is recognized as a fundamental component for social change, and a world where everyone can have the reach to attain tools and resources to empower themselves. Peace and education are two of those pivotal tools that we need to invest in worldwide, and first hand, I know this is true for Colombia. E2E aims to alleviate Colombia’s challenges with innovation and its results-driven mission to scale up strategic partnerships to merge ideas, resources and people. I am inspired by the work the team is committed to, and am very aware of the importance of their presence in the communities they work with.
Is there an interesting story or anecdote that stands out to you?
There is no denying the vast amount of influence E2E has in the communities they have invested in. Not only do the different projects stimulate social change, but [the projects] have given many people hope again—hope for peace in my homeland. When Teryn and the team go into the field for M&E [monitoring and evaluation], it is moving to see community members’ regain ownership for their communities’ progress, a true outcome for sustainable development.
Are there any particular challenges or obstacles you have had to overcome as part of the service?
As a member on the Board of Advisors, I must stay updated with the organization’s projects and must have a very good understanding of Colombia’s political and social environments. I see this as a positive challenge, in that it is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day and forget to put on our holistic lens.
About Fundación E2E
Based in Medellín, Colombia, Fundación E2E works to match people, and their meaningful projects, with strategic partners who can provide necessary financial and social support.
From urban agricultural development, to child aid, E2E provides workshops and consulting that propel impact projects in developing countries. The people involved with the project, their strategic partners, and our world benefit from these impactful investments. Both sound financial and social investments, the outcome makes a real difference in many lives throughout developing countries. Visit the Fundación E2E website to learn more.
Ximena Ospina | Associate, Executive Search