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'Live to Give' event ties career success with volunteer effort


June 23, 2010

Three prominent area leaders with connections to Arizona State University talked about the importance of community service at "Live to Give," a June 22 event sponsored by the ASU Alumni Association and az magazine. The conversation, presented by the Alumni Association’s Women in Business program, focused on the natural connection between community service and career success.

The breakfast roundtable featured the Honorable Barbara Barrett '72 B.S., '75 M.P.A., '78 J.D., former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and current President/CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch; Linda Hunt, president/CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona; and Luz Sarmina '76 M.S.W., president and CEO of Valle del Sol. Karina Bland, ’87 B.A., ’97 M.M.C., a columnist and reporter for az magazine and The Arizona Republic, moderated the conversation.

Barrett said most people become involved in volunteering because they’re asked to do so, but they stay involved because it provides a sense of fulfillment. Sarmina agreed that women tend to give of their time outside of the home because they want to make a difference in the world, yet it is their individual talents, which are often honed on the job, that enable them to do that.

“One of the most important things people can give is their skills,” such as the ability to organize or advocate for a charitable group, Sarmina said.

She added that women who volunteer also learn to assert and stretch themselves.

“Volunteering teaches you courage,” she said. “It’s important to stand tall, even if you’re the only one standing. Have the courage to challenge yourself.”

While volunteering often brings a sense of fulfillment, Hunt said those who volunteer also gain confidence and build relationships. She cited her experience with the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, which blossomed from the vision of two women intent on helping women and families get the skills they need to thrive. Hunt says an incredible group of women came together to bring to life this idea that some might have considered impossible. Today, the Jewell McFarland Lewis – Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center helps thousands of women each year.

Barrett highlighted the many community-minded women who have played a significant role in Arizona’s history, from female Arizona legislators and former Phoenix mayor Margaret T. Hance to former U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the namesake for ASU’s College of Law. She noted that even in retirement, O’Connor continues to volunteer her time to improve Arizona’s justice system.

Hunt said it’s no secret why certain people – who are frequently volunteers or community leaders – repeatedly are tapped for their expertise.

“If you give a task to a busy person, it gets done,” Hunt said. “Busy people know how to set goals, and they prioritize daily.”