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Shaw and the Importance of Getting Involved

by | Emerging Leaders, Engagement, Events, Featured

While my college professors tried their hardest to prepare me for life after graduation, there are many things that just can’t be taught in the classroom. I began my career with Shaw two months after graduation (it’s almost been two years now– what?!?). I found that college had prepared me to do the tasks and assignments I was hired to do, but it would take some time for me to learn how to navigate the professional world and truly find my footing.  

For me, college was filled with community and camaraderie– all my friends lived just steps away and we were always together. In the beginning months of my professional career, I longed for that sense of connection. With more than 20,000 associates at Shaw, it can be intimidating to meet new people. But Shaw recognizes the importance of networking and building trusting relationships early on. That is why the company offers a multitude of resources to help associates create communities that support our growth and development both inside and outside of work.   

Shaw has an entire team dedicated to our corporate giving and community service initiatives because they are essential to helping us live our vision of creating a better future for our people, customers and communities. This team has forged an incredible partnership with the United Way. The United Way is one of our most valued partners because we whole heartedly support the organization’s vision of “a community where all people achieve their full human potential through education, stability, and health & well-being.”  

The United Way carries out its vision in a variety of ways, but as a young professional hoping to build my own network in the Chattanooga area, the recent Great Conversations event hosted by the United Way Emerging Leaders group was especially inspiring and motivating. In addition to making connections with other young professionals, I gained incredible insight into the value of community when building your career from the distinguished panelists— Shaw’s very own Lucia Cook, Miles Huff (Cempa Community Care), James McKissic (ArtsBuild), Tiffanie Robinson (Lamp Post Properties) and Terran Anderson (United Way). All of these leaders have nurtured and supported their communities because they know that strong communities create strong leaders. Through the connections they have built throughout their professional lives, they have been empowered to grow in their careers and they have all seemingly landed in the perfect positions– places where their passions lie, and they can make a true difference in the lives of others.  

None of these phenomenal leaders got to where they are today without the support of their communities. They were all once in my position – where they weren’t quite sure where they fit and what exactly their careers would look like. Now, they’re leading major corporations, nonprofits and innovative startups while creating a better future in our community.  

This event further emphasized that young professionals need community and support just as much as our communities need us. I encourage other young professionals to take advantage of the many opportunities the United Way offers to connect us with our community.