— Monique Phillips, Director of Community Engagement, Women of Color in Pharma
“To whom much is given, much is required.” – The Holy Bible
Compels us to volunteer from a place of duty or compassion. However, often I find that I am a major benefactor of my volunteerism. Volunteering not only offers health benefits like living longer, looking younger, and feeling better, it expands employment opportunities. For a nice list of the many benefits of volunteering, checkout the UnitedHealthcare study Doing Good is Good for You.
But as a professional, I am proud to say that volunteering can benefit your career too. When searching for employment, we are often hit with X years of experience required and no opportunity to expand our skill set in our day job. Volunteering provided me with the opportunity to gain new skills, improve others, and learn from others. I have volunteered in many organizations, but for the past five years, I have been volunteering with Women of Color in Pharma. Women of Color in Pharma (also known as WOCIP and pronounced woe-sip) is a premier global professional society focused solely on the engagement and empowerment of women of color in the pharmaceutical and other life science industries. As a result of my volunteering, I’ve gained or improved skills in vendor management, contract negotiations, people management, event planning, project management, and so much more.
As a result, when interviewing for my last three positions, a large portion of my answers focused on skills that I either gained or sharpened through my volunteer experience. Having direct experience removed the doubt from my interviewers’ minds of if I could do it. Over the last five years, I have received four promotions, three of which were moves to different departments. I can confidently say that my volunteer experience was instrumental in filling skills gaps.
So yes: “to whom much is given, much is required,” but also “doing good is good for you.”