I begin this journey to start Winsightz with an absolute belief that all of my life experiences will make a significant impact for causes I believe in. As you know, my entire career since 1982 has been affiliated with United Way in one form or another. So, I have a strong affinity to United Way’s original mission of bringing diverse interests together within a community working towards a better future for all.
My legacy of giving began when I was a third grader at Hickory Elementary in Virginia our classroom collected money for the then United Fund. I remember proudly wearing my UF button (“Give Once for ALL!”) for weeks afterwards. That little button symbolized contribution and generosity–two qualities deeply imprinted upon me as a youngster, creating two lifelong values which still drive me today.
I could have never imagined that this single act of giving at age 8 would spark a career which began as a “management trainee” with United Way of America at age 21. The intern program was a national in scope, recruiting 10 recent college graduates each year to consider a career in public service via United Way. In my application process, I wrote of United Way’s unique position in both the helping world (agencies/volunteers) and the corporate world as the single best hope of solving community challenges
As a lifetime southerner, moving to the big city of Pittsburgh as my first training location was a huge culture change. However, I quickly learned that people there also loved the feeling of contribution and belonging that United Way offered via workplace and community campaigns. The second stop in my internship was in Louisville where I met the Allen family, founders of the local United Way effort, whose lifetime of devotion to others inspired me to make United Way my career. Over the years, I’ve worked along side thousands of amazing people both as volunteers and professionals. And I am so grateful for this season of my life.
Somewhere along the way, United Way became so big that we lost the feeling of connection. We stopped working in the classrooms with young people to instill a sense of contribution and unity. The workplace campaign became an obligation more than an opportunity. We applied the 80/20 rule to focus on bigger gifts instead of cultivating a community-wide culture of contribution. Many of us have felt this need to re-engage our community in a personal way for a decade of more, but felt powerless to do this in cost effective ways.
Fortunately, technology is now catching up with desire. When I learned about the potential of cognitive computing, I immediately sensed its potential for personal engagement. That initial joy of giving as a third grader was rekindled–but now as a way to give back to organizations struggling with connecting with their community.
Personalized engagement is now possible. As my first product, I’m actively working on WinBack– combining cutting edge software with intensive success coaching, leveraging three decades of non-profit/technology experience. The WinBack program is limited to 10 pilot organizations this fall to help us refine our initial solution. To apply or for more information, please click this link to set up an online appointment.