Connecting with Pamela  

It is special when two people connect and create such an exciting and mutually beneficial relationship. Here is the story of how Saumya met Pamela Hawley and became an intern at UniversalGiving. Saumya currently works virtually from India!

On the 25th of February, I get a message from my sister, Mahima on the family group chat saying, “Saum look up UniversalGiving. You might want to consider working with them.” She was at a conference at Duke University and had just met Pamela Hawley, the Founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. Mahima thought that Pamela was amazing. Jokingly, I asked Mahima whether she had told Pamela that she had a sister and expected the answer to be no. Instead, Mahima said, “actually I did.” I immediately went on to the UniversalGiving website and looked at all the work that the organization does, domestically and internationally and I could not wait to find a way to work with them.

My sister said that she would email Pamela, mention my name, and ask her if I could get in touch. Even though Mahima had met Pamela, I was not expecting Pamela to say yes, and I definitely was not expecting such a quick response from her. I received an enthusiastic reply to my email within minutes, saying that she would love for me to intern with UniversalGiving. She connected me with Ayuko, the operations director, for additional information about summer internships which led me to believe that I would communicate with Ayuko from there on out. However, after a few days, I received an email from Pamela connecting me with Natalia and the Development Team. Pamela also requested that I call her so that we could catch up on the weekend. Twenty-four hours later, I was on the phone with the CEO of the organization!

Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this was a possibility – that my sister would mention me to someone at Duke and a week later I would be on the phone with the CEO, ready to help her organization with research and social media! My talk with Pamela was absolutely amazing. Apart from how great it was to just speak to Pamela, it was unbelievable how enthusiastic she was about having me on the team. She was as excited as I was, and she wanted me to start working right away! What stuck with me was that this phone call was not a one-time thing. Pamela said that I had a direct line of access to her and I should never hesitate to connect with her. She loves working with the team and I think this is incredibly unique. It is not often that you get to talk to a CEO of a company who is as enthusiastic as you are about working for them.  

This has just been an incredible opportunity, not only in the way that it happened but also the speed at which this happened – not even 10 days after my sister met Pamela, I have a UniversalGiving account and I am signing an Internship Agreement with them. I am so glad that I get to work with this incredible, highly approachable and enthusiastic team!

By Saumya Varma

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