Mike McCleery, technology capability officer at Unum, has been the co-chair on Unum’s Chattanooga United Way committee for the past 3 years.
Here, in a Q&A with WorkWell, he shares how he supports the United Way of Chattanooga and why doing so means so much to him.
WorkWell: What have you experienced by working on Unum’s United Way committee that’s inspired you?
McCleery: I have been associated with various volunteer agencies and have served on non-profit boards for years, and to be honest, my motivation to serve is selfish. I learned early in my life, that in most situations where I felt like I was the one providing the “support,” it was actually me receiving the blessing. I’ve been inspired by talented and caring people who dedicate their lives to providing support for people in need, and I feel blessed by the overwhelming gratitude expressed by those who just needed a friend during a trying time in their life.
WorkWell: Why do you volunteer your time to support the United Way and get involved in your community?
McCleery: I believe the only way to advance a society is to care about each other, and to really care about each other we must understand and respect our differences. And the best way to really understand and respect the differences of others is to build relationships at the individual level.
My experience has taught me that it’s far more impactful to invest in the lives of people at a personal level, versus only donating money. When you invest at a personal level, you get a better understanding for those who are really in need of our support, and how easily life’s circumstances could have put you in the same situation. It’s important for me to get involved, because if I don’t care about how others live, I feel like I’m part of the problem, rather than part of the solution that will make our community better.
WorkWell: Why should companies and employees support the United Way and its partner agencies?
McCleery: You may not think that you alone can make a difference in your community, but you can. Taking the time to help just one person will have an impact on the health of your community.