VPT Podcast: Episode 22: Part 2: An Interview with Wes Richardson, Manager of Volunteer Services

In the conclusion to part 1, Wes, who 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 2 of this interview, Wes chats about his experiences, including:

  • Difficult conversations
  • The hardest thing he’s had to do as a volunteer manager. (and it’s not what you might expect)
  • Rounding on volunteers, building that relationship
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Example of intergenerational success
  • That “third place” where volunteers are free to bond with one another
  • After the past two years, where is volunteerism headed?
  • Technology-what can it do for us?
  • Clear desk, clear mind
  • What Wes would love to see “in a perfect world”
  • What volunteer managers really want
  • Why we need each other
  • Are our problems so different from one another’s?

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, I had a great time, appreciate your passion for volunteers and volunteerism and your willingness to find solutions when things get tough. Your ability to see potential and not defeat, to find solutions and not excuses, and to look forward, not back is an inspiration.