Meet Joe Lavender, United Way’s Senior Leader of Creative Services
How well do you know the folks behind-the-scenes at United Way of the Greater Triangle? This week we’re turning the lens on Joe Lavender, our Senior Leader, Creative Services.
Joe isn’t new to the team. As a 6-year veteran of the organization, Joe has played a part in amplifying the successes of hundreds of nonprofit partners through his dynamic design and empathetic storytelling.
When he’s not knee-deep in InDesign, Joe can be founded DJ-ing United Way’s volunteering events and answering random questions about Bjork. Read more about him below!
1. Tell us a little bit about your background
I’m originally from West Virginia and have lived in the Triangle for 15 years. I have spent most of my career in ad agencies or marketing departments in the for-profit space. United Way is my first role with a nonprofit.
2. How long have you worked for United Way and what’s been your favorite memory?
In the 6 years that I’ve been with United Way of the Greater Triangle, I’ve been amazed at how quickly we can identify a community need and pull together the partners to tackle it. The activation of the Durham One Fund for McDougald Terrace residents is a recent example.
3. What is your biggest dream for the Greater Triangle?
I’m an optimist and think the Triangle is poised for greatness. We have the brainpower, the drive, and the resources necessary to make life better for all in the community. We really do have a chance to “get it right” and make sure all our neighbors can be a part of our area’s prosperity.
4. How do you want to make an impact in the Greater Triangle?
When I create the print work, web work, or videos our team needs to raise funds, I find it valuable to remember the families at the other end of the process. If I do my work well, someone’s life can be better.
5. What’s your hidden talent?
I’m really good with a playlist! I’ll be a DJ for my third act.
6. How are you supporting nonprofit partners in ways they might not realize?
Marketing is a luxury for many nonprofits and I’m happy to help fill that need. All of my work is about raising money for our agency partners, amplifying community voices, and telling stories that build empathy.
My title is purposefully vague so that I get the chance to adapt to our partners’ needs. It means I get a chance to exercise the problem-solving part of my brain and synthesize ideas, find connections, and troubleshoot, even if it’s in areas outside of my usual design work.
But my favorite part about my job is that I have unique access to the nonprofit community. I have been invited into their spaces and met the heroes doing the work on the ground.
7. Tell us a random fun fact about yourself!
I have way too many books, like way too many. I have enough that I could probably open a small public library.