VPT Podcast: A New Job and Covid hits: An Interview with Wes Richardson, Manager of Volunteer Services Part 1

Hi and hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did!

Wes began his new job as manager of volunteer services in December 2019 and as the new head of volunteer services, had to almost immediately send volunteers, ones he didn’t get to know well, home. In part 1 of this interview, Wes chats about his experiences, including:

  • That initial shock.
  • The suspension and not knowing what would ultimately happen.
  • How do you introduce yourself and say, “Hi, BTW, stay home.”
  • Nurturing the personalities you’ve not gotten to know yet.
  • Am I the bad guy?
  • Make volunteers feel like they’re still here.
  • Involve the volunteers in everything you can, like training.
  • How a former career may have helped-what skills transferred over.
  • A forced rebuild.
  • New protocols.
  • Eliminate roles or find adjacent roles.
  • Change management.
  • Volunteers “aging out.”
  • The challenging conversations-sandwich anyone?

Wes’ bio:
I was born and grew up in the panhandle of Florida, just north of some of the most beautiful beaches in world. My first job at local radio station found me while in high school. (Believe me, as a shy kid, radio was the last thing I expected to work in!). After 13 years, I transitioned into my first volunteer leadership position at a small hospital on Florida’s gulf coast. It was there my love for this field truly took off. I moved into nonprofit multi-state event volunteerism for a short while before finding my current position with a large health system covering Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Here, I manage the volunteer programs for four hospitals, including the system’s flagship medical center and only children’s hospital. The job didn’t start out the way I planned, with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning shortly after. Nevertheless, it has been an experience full of possibilities and new and exciting challenges to overcome. I like to consider myself a “helper to the helpers,” serving those who give so selflessly of their time and energy to move our mission forward. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for volunteerism, not just in my small corner of the world, but for all of us who are fortunate enough to call this field home. If you have any questions or would just like to connect, my email is rwesrichardson@gmail.com.

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A big thanks to Wes, and we are so glad you have chosen volunteer management as your profession! Your passion and enthusiasm for nurturing volunteers and showcasing their impact and potential is what we need.

-Meridian