Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize-winning author, once wrote: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
At Propeller, we find so much joy and importance in serving our communities that we have a dedicated community service team within the firm. This team ensures that our consultants are able to get involved with causes that are important to them, with engagements ranging from one-off opportunities to more long-term partnerships with local non-profit organizations.
Since Stefanie Galen started as a consultant at Propeller three years ago, she’s been at the helm of our community service efforts. Her immense passion for this work has made her integral to our volunteerism growth. In 2017, she led the execution of the strategy for longer-term impact volunteer opportunities by creating partnerships with two local organizations: Mercy Corps Northwest and Impact Northwest. We're proud to say that these partnerships have been so successful that Propeller was recently recognized on a national level for our efforts.
We sat down with Stefanie to ask her about her dedication to community service:
What in your personal or professional life has made you so passionate about community involvement?
When I was a child, my dad went on strike. Strikes especially affect families because income is so drastically reduced. This particular strike was lengthy and lasted from September through January. I vividly remember our family getting boxes of food donated to us. That Christmas, our family’s gifts were from a holiday giving tree wish list drive. Even as a child, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to pay it forward and give back to the community in the same way that my community helped me.
As soon as I was old enough, I started working for Planned Parenthood. In college, I minored in community development and cultural geography. The lesson that I have derived from my experience is that investing your personal time to help others is more impactful than any other giving method. If you give your own time, you can immediately see the results of your efforts. It’s always been important to me to donate my time because I can see and feel the impact.
How do you choose which organizations to partner with?
The organizations we work with are split into two categories: organizations that need help periodically and organizations that require ongoing support. We keep our opportunities open and receive recommendations from our consultant team on causes that they are passionate about. This year, we partnered with Mercy Corps NW and Impact NW:
- At Mercy Corps, we are leading business seminars, short and long term business advising sessions, speed mentoring events, and internal process improvement strategies.
- At Impact NW, we’re working alongside the organization to help form its strategic vision.
The key to a successful partnership is mutual excitement and that is evident with these two organizations!
What’s your favorite part of helping your community?
My favorite part of volunteering is working directly with people and seeing and feeling the effects of my help. I like to meet and interact with the people. For Impact NW, for example, seeing and talking to the kids we’re working with is meaningful. Passing out presents during the holidays to the community and seeing the expressions on their faces is heartwarming and feels good.
How does Propeller as an organization help support the community service team?
Propeller consultants are encouraged and rewarded for the hours that they volunteer to help the community. Our consultant community service hours are included as part of their financial reward structure. This year, 30% of our consultants are devoting a significant amount of time to longer term pro-bono strategic projects. Employees are growing their consulting skills and using those skills to help the community at the same time, a win-win.
Propeller alumna Stefanie Galen is driven to make a difference, each and every day. With a faithful adherence to listening, problem-solving, and engaging with people, she has a knack for helping organizations grow bigger and better without sacrificing customer and employee satisfaction. She holds a master’s degree in organizational performance from Bellevue University and a bachelor’s degree in geography from Portland State University.