DHG Community Impact Award Winner Cristen Jones
Cristen Jones, a manager in DHG’s Charleston, SC office, is one the winners of our DHG Community Impact Award, which celebrates the impact our people are making across our communities through volunteer hours. In this spotlight, Cristen talks about her passion for volunteering and some of the causes and organizations that are especially important to her in the Charleston community.
You dedicate an incredible number of hours to volunteering and giving back in your community, talk about your passion, why you give back and some of the organizations or causes that are important to you.
I strongly feel that we all have an obligation to give back and make a difference in our communities. My passion for giving back was sparked about five years ago when I joined Charitable Society of Charleston (CSC), which is 100% volunteer-based nonprofit comprised of 30 – 40 young professionals. CSC supports local nonprofits with a focus on children, the elderly, individuals with special needs and overall community wellness. Volunteering helps me keep things in perspective. During busy season it can be challenging at times to manage your career and your personal life, but for me volunteering provides a much needed time out. One of my favorite organizations is Windwood Farm, a local boys home where CSC members volunteer once a month playing games and eating pizza with the kids. Volunteering with Windwood helps me puts things into perspective, because if they’re able to experience such trying times and still put a huge smile on their face then whatever I was stressed about back at the office really isn’t that big of a deal.
How are you efficient in your time management, making sure that you’re meeting client needs and performance goals while finding time to give back?
The two things I focus on are things we should focus on all the time – staying organized and being a good communicator (with clients on timelines and with coworkers on scheduling). There is no way I could be this active in the community without the firm’s support. Since day one DHG has always had my back – whether that be supporting and encouraging my volunteer work or anything else going on in my life outside of work.
Was there anything that surprised you when you received your award at the annual Partner Meeting?
The highlight for me was getting a standing ovation from 250+ partners when accepting the award. That was an awesome feeling I will never forget. I also recognize and truly appreciate the exposure that comes with this award. Being spoiled at Disney wasn’t all that bad either!
Any thoughts for others who are thinking about volunteering in the community but who aren’t quite sure where to start or which type of organization to seek out?
I was really lucky with CSC, if you can find an organization that allows for exposure to a number of different activities or nonprofits so you can find where your true passion lies, that is ideal. I would ask around – ask coworkers, friends, family – a lot of DHG people serve on boards for various nonprofits. Find out where people have had good experiences and give it a shot. The DHG Gives website allows us to see where there’s a need in the community and you can easily sign up to volunteer. My biggest piece of advice is spend your time where you’re passionate and don’t spread yourself too thin. You’re going to make a greater impact if you’re passionate about it and able to fully focus your attention.
Again, find something that works for you, something that sparks your passion. I am truly grateful for the amazing opportunities provided by Charitable Society of Charleston over the years and DHG’s continued support along the way!