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Professional Volunteer Spotlight on Elma Johnson

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

What or who inspired you to pursue your career?

Absolutely my parents inspired me. My parents immigrated to the U.S in the 60s with about $200 in their pockets. Growing up was hard at times, we didn’t have a lot of money. I remember the electricity and the phone suddenly turning off and having to explain it to my friends. However, they continued to work at something that they both loved: music. I learned early on to find something you love to do because life is too short to be in a career you hate. I also learned that money isn’t everything. Being comfortable but in a job you love is most important for long-term happiness.

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

Helping people definitely motivates me. Whether I am facilitating training or coaching someone and they describe how they are using what they learned and how it has made a difference in the way they work or in their lives. This keeps me motivated to help others as well. Also, seeing people secure a job because of my help or get a promotion.

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?

I am grateful for a previous manager who was also my mentor. I don’t even know if she realized the impact that she had on my career and my abilities. At the time, I was in a leadership role that was quite challenging for me; managing a department and a team for the first time in very challenging circumstances. I would often meet with her in a state of frustration or worry. She was always there to listen and often did not necessarily give me the answer, but make me figure it out on my own with her guidance. I learned so many lessons from her: to figure out problems and to be more confident in those decisions.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Being able to do something that I love while giving back and helping to make a difference and impact in education. I enjoy figuring out solutions to problems and improving things as well.

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

I have a passion for education and learning and believe that our current education system in the U.S. is flawed when it comes to equity. The quality of public education should not be based on zip code. I hope that I am contributing in a small way in bringing some equality. I think there is a long way to go before this can truly be a reality.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with my family (my husband and my 10-year-old daughter), going for bike rides and walks, reading, and cooking. Recently my parents and my sister moved closer to me, so spending time with my extended family is important as well. I try to stay in shape and get into fitness, I love to dance, and I am a purple belt in karate.

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

There is only one thing I would wish for and that would be for peace. I wish that people could come to an agreement and understanding on things where there is so much conflict and dissent in both the U.S. and in the world.

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! 🙂

Barack Obama! Not only does he seem like a very interesting, genuine, and caring person, I would love to hear about the behind-the-scenes events that took place throughout his life.

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

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