Take 5 Spotlight is a new series of brief articles that introduce you to members of our National Office team, and many other SMART-types, in a short & sweet way.
Melina Gilbert is SMART’s Volunteer Support Manager in the Volunteer & Meeting Resource Management Department. She says that means exactly what it says. “The job title speaks for itself. My job is to make sure our volunteers have the supports they need to start and maintain their SMART Recovery meetings.” This includes offering support and resources to increase volunteer satisfaction and development of additional skills.
Following a brief stint as a special project contractor in 2016, Melina quickly decided she wanted more. “After working in the National Office just a few hours a week I saw the good that was being done by SMART—the lives that were not just touched, but saved.” Her skills and experience quickly convinced SMART to bring her on staff part-time, and eventually led to a full time position.
SMART took note of her impressive 14 years as the Executive Director for the Lake County Community Network. She developed a broad range of leadership, volunteer management, and program development skills. Melina says her work in Lake County, “…taught me to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life to determine what their needs were and to collaborate with others.” These are two important things she continues to do at SMART.
Here are Melina’s responses to Take 5 Spotlight questions:
- Are there tasks you perform regularly during your workday?
I respond to volunteers who have questions or concerns by providing guidance myself or connecting them to the appropriate person(s). I also regularly work with committees and task forces to improve what SMART does.
- What are a couple of the ways you interact and coordinate your job with other national office staff?
Through meetings and conversations with our volunteers, I learn what they need. I then collaborate with the other staff members to develop and implement plans to address those needs.
- What is one of the ways that you think you personally make a difference at SMART?
As the point of contact for our volunteers at the National Office, I make it easier for them to get what they need. If I cannot help them, I know who to connect them to—hopefully saving them time and frustration.
- What is your message to all those dedicated SMART volunteers across the country?
As an organization, we know that without the dedication of the thousands of volunteers who donate their time and talents, SMART Recovery as we know it wouldn’t exist. We value you and the work you do. When I speak with volunteers I often hear “I hate to bother you for such a small thing.” Please don’t ever feel that way, we are here to help you, and love hearing from you!
- What kinds of things are you interested in outside of work?
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family (6 kids and 6 grandkids!). Weather permitting, I enjoy fishing, kayaking, hiking, being out on my Harley, checking out antique shops and flea markets, and tending to my flower gardens. My husband and I are very fond of what we call “spontaneous weekend road trips” where we get off work on a Friday, throw some supplies in the Jeep, and drive to someplace we have never been and explore. In the winter I enjoy reading, crocheting, and binge watching shows that we missed during the good weather.
Between her deep connection with SMART’s volunteers, and the myriad ways she helps them succeed, and her range of activities (spontaneous or planned), Melina is the epitome of the adage, “Work Hard—Play Hard.” And that means everyone in her personal and professional life benefits!
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