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Volunteer Spotlight on Jeffrey Wallk

Thank You For Being Such A Vital Part Of Our Team, Jeffrey Wallk. We Look Forward To Sharing More About You So Others Can Get To Know You Better!

Tell us a bit about your backstory and what lead you down your current life path.

I spent the first few years in Engineering and eventually switched over to Math and graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Illinois. I worked in financial institutions for the first part of my career and then switched over to technology as it was just taking off. I spent years exploring and implementing emerging technologies in companies and shifted into healthcare in the phase of my career. I expanded my skills in business and architecture and eventually jumped into consulting. I did a lot of work with technology design, business planning, and product development in a variety of companies. I have been adapting my career and interests to match the changes in society, industry, and technology. In the last few years, I have combined my experience and interests in designing knowledge graphs and building digital twins to create sustainable growth in companies. During the pandemic, I also started a new project focused on designing sustainable communities, which led me to the amazing work that Lindsey Wander is doing with Educate. Radiate. Elevate.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career?

I draw inspiration from 3 sources. My family, my pursuit of knowledge, and my interest in science and technology.

What is one thing you are most proud of achieving in your life?

My family. I am very fortunate and very proud of all my wife and kids have achieved and continue to achieve individually and together. My kids are both amazing people.

What keeps you motivated? What maintains your passion for and commitment to the work you are doing?

Life is very short and there is so much to learn, explore, and experience. I have always had a passion for learning and applying knowledge. I am working with organizations that value knowledge so they can capture it and curate it for driving sustainable growth.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

The number one person who has always been there for me and for whom I will always be grateful is my wife (Ruth). There is no one story, rather I have a lifetime of stories and great memories that reinforce the reason we are BFFs and partners in this adventure we call life.

Why did you choose to be a professional volunteer for Educate. Radiate. Elevate.?

Once I listened to Lindsey’s story and saw her commitment to bringing a fresh approach to teaching kids I was sold.

What about the Purpose, Mission, and Core Values of Educate. Radiate. Elevate. speaks most to you and why?

The mission aligns with my lifelong passion to make the world a better place today so we can have a better future tomorrow.

Share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started volunteering.

When I got married and had children, we joined a synagogue and attended a welcoming event on a Friday, and they had all kinds of sign-up sheets for volunteering. I volunteered to run the Fundraising Committee. 13 years later I was President of the synagogue. 2 years after that we bought our first building. Who knew volunteering could get so complicated?

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Learning, collaborating, building relationships, and making a difference.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Training hard (workouts), gardening, golfing, reading, volunteering, collaborating on thought leadership with colleagues, projects around the house, vacations, and adventures with my family.

Tell about an amazing trip you took. Where did you go and what did you enjoy most?

First time I took my family on a skiing trip to Michigan. It was magical with the snow, and the kids were so excited. We stayed in a log cabin, enjoyed great food, and created great memories.

If you were granted three wishes, what would they be and why?

  1. Restore trust in individuals and institutions so we can create a more positive society for today and into the future.
  2. Replace insecurity and fear with kindness, equity, and inclusivity in every person (now & forever).
  3. Absorb all knowledge with the ability to apply it in new and innovative ways to improve society, advance the human condition, and move civilization to the next level of achievement.

Is there something exciting you are working on now? What is it and why did you choose to start it?

I’m never working on one thing, but I will expand on an initiative I started because of the work I’m doing with the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC). I attended a Small Business online session for women business owners earlier this year and listened to Fershawnda Green who started an F&B Incubator on the South Side of Chicago to help people in her community create opportunities for themselves. I was so impressed with Fershawnda’s drive and story that I called her later that week to learn more about her work. Fast-forward 2 months and I find myself working with colleagues in one of my networking groups (Chicago C-Suite) to build an accelerator program to assist Fershawnda’s graduates.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? What is it and why did it resonate with you?

I read many books, articles, and research papers. I don’t know if any one book has made an impact. I am drawn to books by scientific authors who share broad perspectives and insights. A few that come to mind are Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot,” Martin Rees’ “Prospects for Humanity,” Robert M. Sapolsky’s “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst,” and Neil Gershenfield’s “When Things Start to Think.”

Share one professional development goal and one personal goal you have for the upcoming year.

Professional Goal: Help my client and the teams I work with improve and grow

Personal Goal: Rebuild my physical strength and overcome injuries as we emerge from COVID

The road to success is difficult and requires tremendous dedication. What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Life is a journey about learning. Success is nothing more than accumulated failures we overcome as we learn and apply knowledge.

What are you most passionate about? Can you share a story?

Working with my kids on problems and helping them become more resourceful by expanding their thinking and helping them explore their full potential. The stories are personal, but I will just say they continue to amaze me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest number of people, what would that be?

Designing sustainable communities is the best way we can create a better for everyone. The project I started is a long view toward social re-engineering. This is long overdue and with the right people and momentum, we can create a movement of social, economic, and political change. It’s not about electing leaders or recruiting high-profile individuals; it’s about finding the leaders in all of us and creating a society of cooperation, collaboration, and leveraging creativity.

Please share your favorite Life Lesson quote. How is it relevant to your life?

“Don’t dwell, do well”

I remember reading that quote from a successful weightlifter when I was in high school. That always stuck with me, and I still carry this quote in my wallet. It embodies everything about building a positive mindset required to reach your goals and achieve success.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private lunch and why? He/she might just see this! 🙂

I’m pretty sure she’ll see this and now that I’ve been vaccinated, I’m hoping we can have a private lunch or dinner to celebrate her birthday (ahem).

Share any other relevant details you feel might be helpful in us getting to know you.

I’m an engineer at heart and enjoy learning and figuring out how things and finding ways to help people think and work better.

Thanks, Jeffrey! We Are So Lucky To Have You On The Team!

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