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A Volunteer's Story - Dina Wasmer, Published by Mariner Management

We head into 2011 by talking with Dina Wasmer, president of Incite Creative, Inc. (a marketing and graphic design firm), who divides her time between professional and philanthropic volunteerism, lending her expertise to organizations such as Network 2000, Tuesday Girls, and The Children’s Guild. Dina sees volunteering as an opportunity for professional and personal relationship building, which in turn benefits her clients and her community. She is truly example of what ASAE’s Decision To Volunteer report coins a “pro-social” volunteer – one who is motivated by both the professional and the societal benefits. In her words:

The thread between the two types of volunteering is that they both help people, albeit in different ways. While one may be charitable aid, like The Children’s Guild, the other might be helping someone resolve a trying business scenario.

It’s worth noting that Dina also matches the profile of the typical association volunteer identified in the Decision To Volunteer – about half (½) volunteer for three or more organizations while nine-percent (9%) volunteer for five or more. The volunteering includes both charitable/civic and professional organizations.

Dina’s volunteering has taken many forms and a few twists and turns. Look closely, though, and you’ll see a theme. One of these “twists” led her in 2006 to co-found the Tuesday Girls, a group of professional women who meet regularly to discuss business and personal issues. The group started with just eight women who quickly realized the true value was in the diverse professions represented and the opportunity to share resources. They expanded into hosting breakfast briefings, best practices seminars, and quarterly parties designed to be intimate gatherings with no formal presentations. Dina explains that the events are an opportunity to socialize and conduct some business in a “non-overwhelming, non-sales environment, and are more about relationship building than business.”

Dina is a member of Network 2000, a group of Baltimore business leaders and executives working toward the advancement of women into leadership positions, especially in the corporate boardroom. Dina became involved in 2008 when a colleague nominated her for membership. Currently, she serves on the PR committee where her biggest project is the Women of Excellence (WOE), an annual event that celebrates outstanding women. Last year, the keynote speaker was Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, and drew close to 1000 people. Dina has also participated in the Mentoring Program, providing guidance to a young lawyer at a local firm.

In 2006-2007, Dina served on the executive committee for the 2007 Maryland SHERO Awards, which was held on October 15, 2007. Hosted by The Maryland’s Women and Philanthropy Collaborative, the event honored women who had contributed their time, talent and treasure to their communities. The program also offered several college scholarships to at-risk young women. Once again, Dina put her skills to work helping with promoting the event and developing a successful sponsorship strategy. Looking even further back, Dina is a past board member of the Business Network International and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, proof that she has always seen the value in volunteering.

On the philanthropic side, Dina currently volunteers with The Children’s Guild, serving on the Board of Trustees and as co-chair for the Marketing/Rebranding Committee. She is also a partner in Accelerant Baltimore, and in 2006, served on the fundraising committee for the MD School of the Blind (she’s quick to say “hats off” to all those in fundraising!).

You could sum up Dina’s motivation in three words: mingling with peers. “Even though we are in different industries and come from different backgrounds, we find a common ground. It’s fun because I learn things about people that I never imagined. They also become a resource for me, my clients and my friends. It is self-serving in that it makes me feel good that I have these resources that I can pass on, but it also provides extra value that can’t be quantified for our clients.”

We’d like to add our note to congratulate Dina for being honored as one of The Daily Record’s 2010 Maryland’s Top 100 Women. Dina accepted the award on stage where the coolest moment was looking out from the stage and seeing her mom “grinning ear-to-ear” as the proud parent! She was also named to The Daily Record's 2010 VIPs Under 40 list where she took the stage once more last September. 

Dina’s final words of advice to anyone looking to volunteer?

“Whether it’s a job you’re getting paid for or something you’re volunteering to do, it shouldn’t be about building a resume. You have to do a gut check of what kind of time you have to devote to this and do it well. Be sure to pick organizations or associations that you can feel good about or you’re most interested in. Then you’ll be able to put your best foot forward, and ultimately the people you are trying to help will benefit. Plus you won’t see it as a burden, but as an opportunity.”

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