For Regina Jones, it’s all about the smiles – the smiles of hope, joy, and contentment on the faces of people she’s helped. Even if she never meets them and sees their smiles, she says, “the warm and fuzzy feeling remains.” And since she started volunteering regularly in 1995, Regina has been responsible for a lot of smiles.
Regina first volunteered while working for The Gap, Inc., where she worked at a store at 8th and Broadway in Greenwich Village in the early 1990s. It was a community with a large LGBT community, including many employees and customers, and it’s not a stretch to say that awareness of HIV/AIDS was the most critical issue at the time.
She was the manager selected to lead her store’s participating in AIDS Walk New York, which meant recruiting employee volunteers and raising money. She describes the excitement of participating in that project. The best part, she says, was being involved in “creating social change and addressing the needs of the community in which I worked and enjoyed many friendships.”
Her experience at Gap had a profound impact on Regina. In addition to its ubiquitous retail stores and affordable clothing, a key part of the company’s corporate dentity is its community investment strategy – and the company considers its employees to be its most valuable asset. In 1999, for example, The Gap was VolunteerMatch’s first corporate client, actively promoting the use of the website to its employees to encourage volunteering.
But Regina’s time at The Gap did much more than launch her professional career path. Her experience participating in the company’s employee volunteering program showed her how service to her community could be a guiding aspect of her life.
“The volunteer work that I was introduced to by the Gap was the catalyst for my commitment to social responsibility,” she says. “It helped in making volunteer work an integral part of my being. The rewards of volunteering are not limited to the ways in which you positively impact change for the recipients of your work, but are also found in how you, as a volunteer, are transformed by the work.”
Since The Gap, Regina has fueled her passion for volunteerism with new experience after new experience. Currently she volunteers with Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), where she teaches human resources to new and aspiring business owners. She is also a long-time mentor volunteer for MicroMentor (Mercy Corps), a free online service that connects small business owners with business mentors. She also serves as a mock interviewer, resume developer, and advocate for Upwardly Global, whose mission it is to assist highly qualified immigrant professionals in rebuilding their careers here in the United States. If that weren’t enough, Regina also recently served as a pro bono HR capacity builder and board recruitment project manager with the Taproot Foundation.
But Regina has taken her commitment to building capacity at nonprofits one step further. She is the CEO and founder of Hureco Maverick, Inc., a Human Resource Consultancy in New York City that serves clients nationally. A division of her company, named Thagus Castor, is one of only a handful of full-service human resource consulting firms in the nation dedicated exclusively to the unique needs of nonprofits. Through Thagus Castor, Regina has found a way to integrate her commitment to volunteering and service into her professional career.
Regina is also a VolunteerMatch user. She discovered most of the volunteer opportunities she’s taken on at VolunteerMatch.org, and she has also used the site as a nonprofit administrator to recruit volunteers for her client agencies. “It is truly ‘where volunteering begins,’” she says jokingly, “and for me, where it begins again and again!”
When asked why volunteering is so important, Regina says her life’s goal centers around a quote by Siddhartha Gautama: “A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
And she still participates in AIDS Walk New York every year. In fact, Regina’s been walking with enthusiasm and pride – and a big smile on her face – for seventeen straight years. “My work t-shirts (that represent the companies I have worked for) have changed,” she says, “but not the reasons that I walk.”
MicroMentor, an initiative of Mercy Corps, is a free online service that connects small business owners with business mentors. They offer business professionals meaningful volunteer opportunities while offering entrepreneurs one-on-one advice to help build successful businesses.
Mercy Corps / MicroMentor
1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW # 809
Washington, DC 20036
Check out MicroMentor opportunities on VolunteerMatch.
Upwardly Global brings highly qualified immigrants and highly progressive employers together. They help jobseekers write résumés, sharpen interviewing skills and develop professional networks. They help businesses put the right people in the right jobs and show them how to reap the benefits of diversity.
582 Market Street, Suite 1207
San Francisco, CA 94104
Check out Upwardly Global opportunities on VolunteerMatch.
The Taproot Foundation is a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society. Through three core programs that harness pro bono talent, Taproot provides millions of dollars in services annually aimed at best enabling organizations to address local social issues.
466 Geary Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94102
Check out Taproot Foundation opportunities on VolunteerMatch.