by Anis Salvesen
“Just act natural.” That’s what most of us on the UniversalGiving team kept telling ourselves when the news crew from CBS-5 came to the office. Have you ever seen one of those cameras in real life? When the cameraman had it filming just inches from each team member (for a couple of minutes each), it was decidedly unnatural.
Luckily for us, the focus of the CBS-5 story was Pamela Hawley, our CEO. She was being profiled for being a Jefferson Award winner for her community service. They’re “a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service.”
Wow. A Nobel Prize for public service? That sounds so cool. It gets better. Past award winners on the national level include Cesar Chavez (1973), John D. Rockefeller III (1976), Betty Ford (1985), Paul Newman (1994), Donald Fisher (2000), Bill & Melinda Gates (2002), Senator Edward M. Kennedy (2009). It’s a diverse list of community leaders and politicians from different ends of the political spectrum.
Our focus at UniversalGiving is very much on humility, so it initially seemed a bit incongruous with our culture to write about an award received and a CBS news story. But then I realized the focus of this blog post is about sharing a video that does such a great job telling the story of UniversalGiving and what drives us. It’s about pointing out how there are so many great leaders out there working for the common good, and how we can all be part of that positive social change.
That said, it’s still pretty exciting to see yourself on tv. In my case, it was the back of my head that was on tv, but I must say it looked really natural. Pamela, as you can see, is just such a great presence. She had no problems acting natural, not only because she does improv, but because Pamela is on all occasions her natural self. I’ve watched her interact in the same way with volunteers as with prominent CEOs, the same way with funders as with the homeless. In that sense, she is my role model. Who is yours?