This month, NYAVA wishes to highlight Staci-Jo Bruce, a new member and the recipient of a Scholarship to the June 2013 Points of Light conference in Washington D.C. Staci-Jo is currently the Director of Volunteer Services at The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York (CCANY). She oversees the mobilization, recruitment, and maintenance of the volunteer program for Catholic Charities NY and acts as a resource for over 90 Catholic Charities agencies. Like many of us at NYAVA, her career in the non-profit world came about organically. She holds a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from Long Island University and through her previous jobs in marketing she found that her talent for working with people and planning events could connect with her love of community service in a non-profit career. A native New Yorker, Staci-Jo has lived most of her life in Brooklyn, but has also spent some time in Atlanta. Volunteering was always a part of family life and Staci-Jo continues to volunteer to this day.
Staci-Jo started at Catholic Charities in January of 2012 and plays a key role in the growth of the program. A new website along with increased opportunities and orientations means even more volunteers and projects to oversee. She loves working with a very diverse set of agencies, volunteers, and client bases despite any challenges it might present. A recent challenge came with Hurricane Sandy. Many Catholic Charities volunteers were involved in the disaster response and recovery even though there was no formal Disaster Response program set up. Staci found herself inspired by the many volunteers who pitched in to help, and especially with a father-daughter team of volunteers who were instrumental in collecting information on the ground about where the most immediate help was needed. Their dedication and diligence were so intense that Staci had to make sure they weren’t over-involved!
Working at Catholic Charities has allowed Staci-Jo to use the skills she picked up throughout her years in marketing and put those to the best possible use. Staci-Jo’s marketing career started at The Jersey Journal where she worked as the Marketing Director. It was here that she developed diverse skills in event planning, advertising, recruitment, websites, and customer service. All of these skills were easily transferable to Volunteer Management and Staci-Jo still remembers the importance of those first lessons: “It is important to understand the connection between good customer service and volunteer management. I put myself in the volunteer’s shoes and work to provide them with the best experience. A happy volunteer is a great inspiration for my work.”
Staci-Jo also knows what it feels like to be a happy volunteer. She grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and spent a lot of time volunteering with her family, even though she wasn’t aware at the time that she was “volunteering” or that it was anything out of the ordinary. Her parents, originally from Jamaica, created an expectation of community service in the family and Staci-Jo has continued that tradition. She has volunteered as the Advisory Board Chair at the Atlanta non-profit, Adopt-A Grandparent and has lots of experience as a foster parent for animals. She has worked with Canine Assistant Dogs while volunteering with the Atlanta Humane Society and even raised a Seeing Eye Dog named Hawk. She is currently fostering a pregnant cat in her apartment in Brooklyn.
Despite her full schedule of working with volunteers and working as a volunteer, Staci-Jo still finds time to learn new things in the Volunteer Management field. As a new member of NYAVA, she has attended one of the Member Breakfasts and found that it was really worth taking the time out of her busy schedule to exchange ideas with her fellow NYAVA members. Staci-Jo will also be learning a whole lot more about Volunteer Management when she attends the Points of Light Conference this coming June in Washington D.C. She worked for the Hands-On Network (now the Points of Light Institute) while living in Atlanta and understands the culture of the program. She is looking forward to a fun and informative conference and we can’t wait to hear all about it!