When people think about volunteering, they often think about one person or a group of people giving in some way to others. It is clear when a person's life is improved because a volunteer helped. The less obvious benefits, however, are often experienced by the volunteer.
Take Lynne Rogich Ford '84, who is a current Davidson parent and an engaged alumna and volunteer. Over the years, she has met with many Davidson students who wanted to explore career opportunities. She volunteered for the college mentoring program Leadership Davidson, where she developed long-lasting relationships with the women she mentored. Mentoring then led to job shadowing, and job shadowing grew to full-blown internships.
"When I recently located to a new firm in the Washington, D.C. area, I was in a prime location to offer opportunities for students," Lynne said. "Our sustainable asset management firm is small, and we are trying to undertake a growth strategy. Internship opportunities were a leverage point that made sense for both us and the students."
In addition to the value internships bring to students, Lynne enjoys being able to tap into the creativity of the younger generation.
"Being exposed to young adults is a great way to keep up with newer thinking," she said. "I'm a baby boomer, and it is critical that I have a sense of what Gen Y and millennials are thinking. It is extremely valuable to me as I think about the next generation of potential employees and clients."
Even though Lynne has a natural love for alma mater, she specifically sees a distinctiveness with Davidson students and graduates through her career lens, too.
"An education at Davidson is going to set you up to succeed at whatever you do. When you are still on campus, you are comparing yourself to the best of the best, and it may be hard to see," she said. "But out in the working world, the foundational thinking, values and integrity that students glean from a Davidson college experience sets alumni apart in much more obvious ways. Strong character and intellect and natural curiosity never leaves people."
Lynne has taken on volunteer roles for several past reunions, and this year serves as the Class of '84 Reunion Gift Chair. Lynne is married to John Ford, and their daughter, Blair, is a Davidson senior.