“It is so incredibly rewarding to be able to help build some key skills that will help folks to succeed in their future endeavors.”
The Executive Service Corps (ESC) uses the skills of experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated volunteer professionals to help nonprofits design targeted solutions to their challenges and opportunities, including BoardsWork! facilitation and SkillShare project management.
ESC volunteer Kathy Josephson (MHRM, PHR, SHRM-CP) shares her story of service and support to the nonprofit sector. Kathy has been a human resources professional for about 14 years. The majority of that experience has been in the nonprofit arena, with roles including all areas of HR, leadership, and operations. Kathy has experience as a nonprofit board member for many small nonprofits, including several animal rescues. She is currently assisting with the creation of a new nonprofit looking to open and maintain a local dog park. Kathy maintains active SHRM volunteer leadership and currently serves as President of the Human Resources Association of the Alleghenies. She currently is a personal caregiver and hospice volunteer.
What prompted you to inquire about the ESC program here?
A coworker and former ESC volunteer sent me information about the program, and I was very interested right away. I was looking to expand and diversify my community service experience beyond my home community. I wanted to see and learn other communities beyond my backyard.
How has your professional career shaped your service in the nonprofit sector?
I have always been drawn to the nonprofit sector because of the mission of the work. I absolutely love learning about organizations that creatively use resources to support and benefit communities with collective values. I truly believe in building strong communities and supporting one another for the greater good.
Can you highlight some of the key moments or accomplishments during your work through ESC so far?
Through ESC, I have gotten to meet so many unique individuals who are so smart and caring. It is so incredibly rewarding to be able to help build some key skills that will help folks to succeed in their future endeavors. I have done this through conducting training and workshops on specific HR topics. I have worked with a variety of organizations through ESC and have learned just as much from everyone that I have met as they have from me. I specifically remember the folks who come up to me after a training session who tell me that they learned so much and thank me.
Your expertise lies in HR. What do you feel are a few of the the best ways to strengthen this area in nonprofit organizations moving forward?
Nonprofit organizations are usually so focused on the mission, that there is not a lot of time to devote to HR until an issue becomes too big and costly to ignore. I feel that armed with a little bit of HR knowledge, nonprofit organizations can put some best practices into place to proactively protect themselves from common pitfalls that can really harm an organization.
What would you tell other individuals who are interested in volunteering in a similar capacity but might be hesitant to commit?
I would definitely focus on how rewarding the projects are. I thoroughly enjoy hearing the feedback from organizations that I work with as much as I enjoy learning about their organizations.
Outside of working as an HR professional and serving on various boards, what (or who) gives your live purpose and passion?
I am so inspired by the work folks are doing out there to help others whether it is folks with disabilities (my day job) or our four-legged friends who just need a safe space. I feel that my strength in the HR field can help support those folks by reducing admin cost and time so that they can spend their resources doing the REAL work that benefits the community.
If you would like to volunteer with ESC or learn more about the program, contact Covestro Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Yvonne Van Haitsma at (412) 397-6002 or firstname.lastname@example.org