CWLI / Volunteers

Meet a Few Volunteers

CWLI is fortunate to have a strong organization of time-sacrificing volunteers. As we kick off a new year, we’re honored to highlight just a few who have made an impact on our growing organization. Please join us in thanking them for their investment of time and hear in their words what volunteering has done in their life.


Kelly Summersett

What does volunteering mean to you?
It’s my way of giving back and adding more happiness to the world.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Life, health & happiness topics of course!
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
The positive impact and results I see.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
Every month during the Power of Happy — the connections between the other women and their take-aways.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Ask good questions

Julie Davis

What does volunteering mean to you?
To me, volunteering means sharing your time, talents and treasures with others who may be able to benefit from them.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Obviously organization who empower and develop women and their roles are important to me. I am also very involved in higher education organizations. I feel it’s important that we prepare our younger generations to be successful in higher education.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
While it is not a specific instance in volunteering, I feel very proud of the initiative which was spanned from a membership committee meeting I was chairing this year. The Campus Connections program came from an idea shared in a membership committee meeting and I watched as a small group of ladies connected over this idea and have taken it and ran with it. I believe this focus will become a significant part of our mission and efforts in the future.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Like the old saying goes, you get out of it what you put into it. The only way to make real connections in our organization is to commit to a committee and follow through with it. I often tell new members, the time you put into CWLI is just about “you”. It’s taking care of yourself and helping to ensure you meet your potential in the future. It’s a calendar item that should never be pushed back on the priority list.

Susan Spurgeon

What does volunteering mean to you?
I love Chattanooga, my home town, a new city from the one I grew up in. Volunteering has always been big and there’s more than ever. Now that I’ve retired and returned home, I want to be part of the volunteering and make us the most connected city in the country.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Connecting people together throughout the city.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Making ChattanoogaHugs known to the members and future members.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
Members night, Christmas party.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Sign up and attend events or connect with a member and go as a guest to various events

 

Sue Culpepper

What does volunteering mean to you?
Volunteering means using your talent and helping in a meaningful way. It can be using business experience to serve on a board. It can mean helping a school with an event. It can mean helping to plant a garden to provide food. It can mean assisting with a house build. It is being present and assisting others where there is a need. It is a non-selfish giving of ones time and abilities for the greater good.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
I have found my passion for students with my role at UTC. Also, I serve on the Foundation Board of Memorial Hospital which also answers my passion for serving others.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Watching students succeed. Seeing the delight as they find a major or a career of their dreams.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
Through Rotary and their Field of Dreams.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to do an inventory of their passions. Nothing is worse that to serve in volunteer capacity with an organization that doesn’t stir an emotion within. First begin with the personal passion. Second get out and network and tell your story.

 


 

Paula Henderson

What does volunteering mean to you?
It means we can all have an impact on our community and the world by giving back. Time, resources and ideas are all important to the volunteering process. Working together with a diverse group helps us realize the challenges of others in our community/world and how our small part can help us all become better people.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Women’s issues, feeding the hungry and helping to raise awareness of poverty in our community as well as expanding the cultural arts.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Seeing the impact of experienced women/professionals on the younger generation.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
Working on the Habitat houses together with the prospective owners and seeing the connections made through the Networking events that lead to friendships, jobs, etc.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Start by contacting any organization or Board that you feel you have a passion for or interest in. Ask what they need and how your skills can help them.

Janie Hawkins

What does volunteering mean to you?
Volunteering to me means giving back. It means giving back to an organization that has given me so much in just the 2 years that I have been a member. It is so easy to volunteer my time when I can see first hand all of the great opportunities this organization offers not just to me, but to everyone that is involved.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
I have loved volunteering with the Membership committee because it has given me the opportunity to meet so many different women involved in CWLI. I am also very passionate about philanthropy, so I love to help out anyway I can when CWLI has the opportunity to help others outside of our organization.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
The most rewarding experience for me has been to see the growth of CWLI. I want to say around 200 new members have joined this group since I joined 2 years ago and it has been great to see all of the involvement from a large majority of the women.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
I have seen the most impact at our Membership Kickoff Events because members get a chance to invite guests to this event and we, as CWLI, get to showcase why our organization is so great!
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
I would say to just take a chance. You will never know until you try. Ask around about the different committees and even visit a few while trying to decide what is the best fit for you. Each committee is very open and welcoming and each one brings something different to the table.

Terri Holley

What does volunteering mean to you?
Volunteering means that I am willing to give of my time, talent and resourses to assist with organizations for which I am passionate about the work they are doing in our community.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
I like to spend my time volunteering at my church as well as supporting organizations which I feel directly impact women in our community.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Serving on the board of directors. I felt so empowered by the women who were leading the board during the time of my service.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Start with the networking committee. It is a larger committee and allows you the opportunity to serve where the most women are participating.

 


 

Brenda Hoyle

What does volunteering mean to you?
Being part of something bigger than myself that helps others.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Leadership studies. I’ve learned a lot from it.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Hearing from other CWLI members about their experiences and learning from them.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Volunteering has been a rewarding experience. You get to meet and help lots of people, and learn a lot. As a volunteer, you get the chance to interact with a lot more people than you normally would as a regular member. You only do as much as you can. No one is going to force you to volunteer during finals or your birthday. I’m a full time student, have a part time job and still find time to volunteer.

 

Melissa Curtis

What does volunteering mean to you?
Giving back to our community and paying it forward.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
I love the idea of sharing information that strengthens members and helps them become more successful.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
I have loved connecting with awesome women who I might otherwise not meet. Also, working on the Financial Empowerment series and experiencing the shared vision of those involved to give attendees useful information which can really help them solve (or avoid) financial problems.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
Yes, we were discussing Elder Care and there were so many attendees struggling with how to best care for aging parents. They were given some valuable tips and made connections with other members who could help.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Talk with other members on the committees which interest you and ask them about their experience. Give it a try and get involved. I promise you will meet some great women and make some new friends.

Gabrielle Blades

What does volunteering mean to you?
Giving opportunities or services to others in need that I already have access to
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
The value of creativity and art, female leadership, equality, diversity/inclusion, education
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
Connecting one woman to another to create new opportunities!
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
The women’s pop up market at the BDC allowed female entrepreneurs to share their stories and their work with each other and the community. What I loved was hearing each woman proudly talk about their business/organization. There was a lot of positive powerful energy around it.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
The commitment can be as little or big as you want it to be, but choose where you want to start and stick to it!

 

Brennen Riddle

What does volunteering mean to you?
I think a big part of being a volunteer is caring about a cause or mission so much that you feel the passionate need to take action.
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
I would love to assist with recruitment and membership as much as possible, as well as recruitment and involvement of college-aged women.
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
I think new careers, new risks etc. sometimes can be intimidating for women and CWLI is breaking down the barriers to ensure we don’t have to feel that way. “Should I apply for that management position?”, “How do I talk to my boss about this certain issue?”, “I have this great idea, but where do I event start?” – All of these things and more are scary because most of the time you think, “Who do I turn to?” The answer is CWLI. There are women who are a part of this organization who have been there and who are ready to offer advice. To be able to have hundreds of women cheering you on and ready to help you succeed is something incredibly special. It’s rewarding to be a part of and I feel the support in every meeting and event.
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
There was a specific membership meeting where I remember being wowed at the fact that no one was harping on numbers or stats, but genuinely discussing what more CWLI could be offering women of all ages. The organization is truly about what it can do for women and not the other way around, and I see that impacting our community greatly.
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
I would probably tell them to come to at least one networking event – that way they can meet both members and other women who might be thinking about joining just like they are. Regardless, you’ll be able to leave with some amazing connections, so what can it hurt?

Wanda Lamb

What does volunteering mean to you?
Connecting to your community and making it a better place
Are there any topics or sectors in which you are extremely interested or passionate about volunteering?
Education
What has been the most rewarding experience when volunteering with CWLI?
The passion of this organization
Is there a specific time when volunteering with CWLI where you’ve seen significant impact?
The start up companies of the strong women and the contacts CWLI provides to them
If someone is thinking about volunteering but doesn’t know where to start or the commitment it entails, what would you tell them?
Join CWLI