In Recognition of HOBY’s Volunteers

We asked HOBY staff and Volunteer leadership to share why they volunteer or work with volunteers, their advice for volunteers and what they love most about HOBY’s volunteers. Lots of nuggets of knowledge and encouragement! Happy Volunteer Month!

  1. Robert Carpenter – HOBY Director of National Programs – Region B

    I work with volunteers because they are the backbone of everything we do at HOBY. Without them and their passion and abilities, our ambassadors would really be missing out. Not only that but our volunteers are committed and the best to work with. They make wanting to work with volunteers an easy choice!

  2. My advice to volunteers is to be sure we are taking care of ourselves before investing in others. I have seen so many people who volunteer in different organizations burn out because they are investing so much in others but forgetting to take care of themselves. The best way to ensure this is happening is to never be afraid to ask for help. That is the best thing about volunteering, its a team effort, not a solo mission.
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is that they really are like a family. I have seen many volunteer organizations but none where volunteers treat others like family and with such genuine respect. I really believe that this is why the programs and seminars are so impactful and effective. With such a great team of volunteers incredible volunteer culture, it is no surprise they are making such a huge impact!

Cheryl L. Brenn, CAE HOBY – Chief International Programs Officer

  1. I volunteer because it’s part of my DNA. I grew up in a family of community volunteers, so it’s very much part of the fabric of who I am. My dearest friends are people I have volunteered with (both with HOBY and other organizations), and volunteering is what led me to association/non-profit management as a career choice, it’s where I feel my most authentic self! That’s probably the reason I love working with volunteers too. Even though everyone has their own personal journey, there’s a commonality amongst people who volunteer regularly. 
  2. My advice to volunteers (HOBY or otherwise, up to you) is to say “YES”. Volunteering is the place to stretch your skills, learn new ones, discover what you’re good at (or even discover what you’re not-so-good at), it’s OK to give something a try that’s outside your comfort zone. Volunteering gives you the chance to get outside yourself, I think it’s really the living example of sacrificial giving. It’s easy to write a check, but to give your time – that’s something that has real value!! 
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their commitment and passion for our organization. Let’s be honest, without our volunteers, we wouldn’t have HOBY! I think HOBY volunteers are our “secret sauce”. We’re a small (but mighty) staff team with an army of really amazing people who love what our organization stands for. The Ambassadors are the end-user, but it’s the volunteers who make it happen! Our volunteers love the positive impact we collectively make on the youth of the world and love their communities enough to want to be part of the solution and make the world a better place!

Javier La Fianza – HOBY Chief Executive Officer

  1. I volunteer and work with volunteers because people who give their time and talent to something they care about truly make a difference. Volunteers share the best pieces of themselves and by doing so, inspire more than the people they’re helping, they inspire all of us to do more, give more and be more.
  2. My advice to volunteers is to have fun throughout your volunteer work. Volunteering can be hard, frustrating and even disappointing. It’s often hard work, but it should be fun, and a learning experience for everyone involved. When you’re having fun, you’re a better volunteer and a more inspirational leader.
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their dedication to HOBY Ambassadors. It is not unusual for HOBY volunteers to stay in touch with their Ambassadors, and continue to help and mentor them, for years to come. I hear stories of volunteers helping Ambassadors through High School, College and even throughout their careers. Many alumni have attributed their success to HOBY and the volunteers who inspired them to believe in themselves.

  1. Renae Waestman-Furlow – HOBY Chief Advancement Officer

    I enjoy working with volunteers because they provide amazing insight on the direct impact HOBY has on student lives! It’s these stories that are most powerful in speaking with potential schools, parents, partners, and potential donors. – Renae Waestman-Furlow

  2. My advice to volunteers (HOBY or otherwise, up to you) is I’m grateful to volunteer for their countless hours and dedications to bring students to HOBY without you it won’t be possible! – Renae Waestman-Furlow
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their passion for the students and commitment to strengthening each other.


  1. Rose Santini – Chief National Programs Officer

    I work with volunteers because there is nothing more rewarding than to witness the impact they make in the lives of young leaders, communities and the people they partner with daily!

  2. My advice to volunteers is to make sure the work they do brings fun and fulfillment to their life! Volunteering has many rewards, but one has to make sure they are receiving something back as well.
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their drive and commitment to continually assure the work they are doing is meaningful and bettering the lives of everyone around them!



Matt Vlies
HOBY 2019 FOP Co-Chair

  1. I volunteer because Hugh told me once that I was special and I want to ensure that each and every volunteer and participant feels special and important.
  2. My advice to volunteers is have fun, remember WHY we work so hard and always leave time for fun!
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers are their optimistic outlook and neverending energy.




Heather Myers – HOBY Director of National Programs, Region O

  1. I work with volunteers because they are passionate, and we are so fortunate to have the best volunteers helping with HOBY! I love that I have been able to shift my career so that I work for an organization that would not be what it is without our volunteers! Having the opportunity to work with so many passionate HOBY Volunteers is fantastic!  
  2. My advice to volunteers is to keep growing! There are so many turning pieces in our organization, and my volunteer experiences taught me so many different things because I am able to constantly try new things. Learn from your fellow volunteers, teach your fellow volunteers, and remember that we’re all in it together! If we continue to allow ourselves to grow within our roles, we make the HOBY experience even better for future Ambassadors!  
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their passion! HOBY Volunteers are some of the most passionate and excited volunteers I’ve ever met! I mean, come on, where else can you go and find a group of fully grown adults cheerfully leading a round of “Baby Shark” or “Singing in the Rain” – without a group of small children nearby?!? 😊

Angie Magazino – 
HOBY 2019 WLC Chair

  1. I volunteer because (or work with volunteers because) HOBY didn’t just make an impact when I was an ambassador; it has impacted my life every year I’ve returned since. Whether it’s profound thoughts from an ambassador, challenging ideas from a speaker, or heartfelt chats with a fellow volunteer, I always leave a HOBY seminar different than how I arrived.
  2. My advice to volunteers (HOBY or otherwise, up to you) is to find the volunteer opportunities that challenge you and help you grow. HOBY has developed my professional resume over the years; I’ve gotten experience as a volunteer that’s differentiated me as a candidate and ultimately led to new job opportunities (including co-founding a business with fellow HOBY alumnae!).
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is the unwavering dedication to creating the best possible experience for our ambassadors. I don’t know a single HOBY volunteer who doesn’t put their whole heart into everything they do to plan and execute a meaningful, life-changing seminar experience. The feeling of being in community with hundreds of other people who care as much as you do and will work hard to prove it is special. I’ve only ever felt that at HOBY.

Sándrea L. Shields – HOBY Director of National Programs, Region H

  1. I work with volunteers because they give of their time/resources in efforts to give something back to the community or make a difference.
  2. My advice to volunteers is volunteering is what you make it, so stay positive and have fun!
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their passion for the mission of this outstanding organization never ceases to amaze me.




Stephanie Jackson – HOBY Board of Trustees Chair

  1. Stephanie Jackson – HOBY Board of Trustees ChairI volunteer because… I believe it is the responsibility of every person to give to their community and our world. HOBY has given so much to me over the years; it is my responsibility to pay that forward. 
  2. My advice to volunteers…Remember that each of us, from a board member to team alumni, loves HOBY as much as you do. 
  3. What I love most about HOBY volunteers is their passion for the organization and their dedication to creating meaningful change in our world.



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