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Meet Natasha Wayne, Creating Meaningful Engagement Opportunities

SPECSNW2
Current gig Director of Engagement
Previous gig Community Engagement and Special Events Manager, UWGT
Favorite Quote I don’t take my life seriously, but I do take what I do–in my life–seriously. Audrey Hepburn

United Way of the Greater Triangle: What is your new role and what is the function?
Natasha Wayne: My new role is Director of Engagement.  As part of this role, I will be the staff liaison for Leaders United, United Way of the Greater Triangle’s leadership society.  I will work with members of Leaders United to help deepen their understanding of UWGT’s work and activate these members around our work.  With this, I will work to create a world class engagement experience for our donors through volunteer opportunities, events, and opportunities to provide feedback and ideas on our work. By creating these experiences, I hope to cultivate not only a deeper understanding of our work but also a deeper passion for and motivation to make an impact in the issues facing our community.

What does “engagement” mean to you?
Engagement requires both commitment and interest. Engagement requires that one truly care—being appalled that 100,000 kids in our very prosperous area don’t know where their next meals is coming from—and wanting to make a difference. Engagement then requires action toward change.

Why are you called to do this work?
When I was growing up, my father was a car salesman and didn’t get out of the business until I was 25. In the late 90s and early 2000s, things were going really smoothly for my family.  We took vacations, had nice cars, and lived in a nice, big historic home. Then the economy fell…and so did car sales.  My family experienced hardships that led to significant life-changes. I quickly understood that poverty and financial instability can happen to anyone.  One unforeseen circumstance can change the entire life projection for a family. I am called to the work I do at UWGT to help people in our community.  When we were facing these issues, we didn’t have a community to wrap around us or guide us.  I want to be part of ensuring we have that in the Triangle.

What difference do you hope to make?
I hope to get more people involved in our work.  I know that UWGT can’t solve the issues of our community on our own and, quite frankly, we shouldn’t.  The skills of the 35 people that work in our office, though extensive, aren’t enough to conquer every issue our community.  I hope to get more people involved in our work, to join us with their skills and ideas, so that as a team we can truly tackle some of the biggest challenges in our community.

Why does this role matter in the broader community context?
This role will allow our donors and community members to become more involved in our work.  By becoming more involved, people from across the four counties we serve will gain a firmer understanding of what our United Way is doing to create long-term, sustainable solutions to some of our areas’ biggest problems. Individuals in our community will begin to understand that they can make a difference even in some of our most seemingly insurmountable issues because they are joining with like-minded and like-hearted individuals to play a part in the overall solution.

Volunteer with United Way of the Greater Triangle, www.unitedwaytriangle.org/volunteer