The ever-wise Taylor Swift once sang, “Nothing safe is worth the drive.” It’s been just over a month since I started my first job out of college as a Community Investment Advisor with United Way of Salt Lake. Based on my experience thus far, I must say that Ms. Swift has hit the nail on the head yet again. I want to talk about why working for UWSL has been worth the drive for me – because the adjustment hasn’t always felt safe and comfortable.
I wanted to work for this organization because it’s been working for me my whole life, whether I recognized it or not. As I learned more about collective impact and the ways United Way works with all kinds of groups in different neighborhoods, I was led home – I recognized the names of my elementary schools, companies my neighbors work for, service organizations my family has volunteered with, names of individuals that I know need help. UWSL isn’t intimidated by the complexities of intergenerational poverty or inequality in our communities – and it shows. I am constantly impressed by the sophistication, depth, employees, volunteers, partners, and heart of UWSL’s mission.
I have to admit, though, that fundraising is stressful. And it’s new. At times I’ve lost sight of the beauty of the big picture as I’ve struggled to magnify my role within our organization. Thankfully, of course, I’ll always have Taylor Swift to tell me that “nothing safe is worth the drive”. “Safe” probably wouldn’t be the first word I’d use to describe public speaking or asking people for money every day. In fact, I still sometimes feel too small for the demands of this position.
But I don’t feel small when an employee at a company tells me my message meant something to them, or when I can offer our services to someone who needs them. I don’t feel small when I walk into a UWSL Community School and see kids working to overcome the odds and challenges they face. And I don’t feel small when I can tell someone I work for an organization that is making a difference – and that I mean it.
It’s worth the drive to LIVE UNITED and I couldn’t be more honored to work with people who continually do just that.