Pamela Hawley Jefferson Award Winner on CBS-5

PH - LinkedIn 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 modelWho is yours?


2 thoughts on “Pamela Hawley Jefferson Award Winner on CBS-5

  1. Nobel prize for public service is not just the prize for the person who recieves it but a prize for all those who help knit a community together. It may be the neighbor who lets everyone know someone needs help or something is happening that needs attention. These are important tasks.
    When I was doing my student teaching a billion years ago one of my students taught me a great lesson . He was the student that got one pair of shoes a year . He received them in October so his feet would be covered for the snow season and hopefully he would not out grow them before spring.
    He arrived one sunny Monday morning grinning from ear to ear. I had to ask what had happened over the weekend.
    His story went like this. ” You know the poor folks down the holler? Well you know how their cow gets out is a touble for all of us? We just had had it with them and their cow so we (and he paused). Well we got some boards and fencing material you know barbed wire, hinges, posts
    It was fun they were so surprised and happy and we were having so much fun we fixed the steps and painted the front of the house. It was a real party. We were happy and so were they. ”
    Up to that point I felt so sorry for this wonderful child . It was indulgent on my part; he may have been short of funds but not poor. He knew he could shape the world around him and enjoy and share himself freely. The lack of proper fencing had to do with lack of capacity at that moment. Illness was present. He did not worry that it was not enough to fix every thing but he understood that he was part of a whole and he just did what he could and celebrated.
    I do not know what happened to him or the cow or the fence, but I am sure he grew into being a successful adult . He knew he was enough and lived with an open heart. Free to give and receive. Giving was fun.

    • Dear Peg,

      Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring story!! I love the lesson: Do what you can and celebrate.

      It is so wonderful that you were not only able to recognize the lesson but then share it with the rest of us. Thank you! It is one of those stories that will definitely stick with me.

      – Anis S.

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