Jonathan Chowansky, UPS
Community Relations Manager, UPS, a 2021 Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia Honoree
Years in Field: 7
My Employee Engagement Journey
At UPS, I started my journey as a seasonal delivery driver. A year later I was promoted into management. Over the years, I have completed multiple assignments in delivery operations and Industrial Engineering – including implementing Saturday Ground delivery and operations throughout the country. Prior to UPS, I worked in New Jersey state public affairs.
Is this where I saw myself when I began my career? Honestly, no. I wasn’t aware that this type of job existed then. Had I known, I would have certainly pursued this career field from day one.
At UPS, it started by helping our Public Affairs team lead a local volunteer group that engages with Congressional members. When the team learned of my volunteer work and previous public affairs experience, they thought I’d be a good fit when a Community Relations position opened in the area.
Advice for Those Considering Working In Corporate Volunteerism
You have to naturally be a people person and have a passion for helping others. The impact that you, your company and employees can have is amazing. Further advice would be to research what a career would look like from entry level to executive positions, as well as reviewing each company’s focus and visions and see how they fit with your own.
Constantly be in tune with the current needs and unique challenges to the community and strategize a plan on how utilize your resources and relationships to meet those needs. To truly be effective and make a positive difference in your position, you must build and cultivate on genuine relationships both internally and externally.
My Company’s Approach to Volunteerism
Many people work in offices or factories. At UPS, we work in communities. Our philanthropic efforts reflect the needs that our employees see in the community every day. Giving means more than writing a check. It means combining employees’ skills, passion and time with the company’s logistics expertise, transportation assets and charitable donations to make a measurable difference in society. This is what fuels our effort to deliver what matters.
The best example of leveraging employee engagement for the mutual benefit of our community and the company is when we recently held a clothing donation drive for metro Philadelphia women shelters, including a human trafficking shelter. Our employees donated many hours, hundreds of clothing items and thousands of dollars in grant money. However, we took it a step further by creating workforce development opportunities for those who need jobs most. Jobs that we have to offer. Jobs that can turn into careers and truly help.
Aspects of Corporate Volunteerism That Excite And Motivate Me
Questions that drive my understanding of corporate volunteerism include:
- Am I doing enough to make an impact in our community?
- Am I communicating what we have done enough to our employees?
- Am I motivating our employees enough?
- Am I giving them enough options for volunteer opportunities?
- Can we be better?
- What/who am I missing in our community?
I’m excited about making a positive impact in the community. One event, one organization, one cause at a time. I love when our employees get involved, because it stops becoming about work and starts to become about one another. You get closer to the cause, the people and you build relationships. Its more than just work.
What motivates me is waking up each day asking myself, “How can I make an impact today? Who can I connect with? Who needs help? What can we do?” Our leaders believe by serving others, we serve the collective good. They inspire us to step up and lean in to help in any way we can.
Trends to follow in the Future
We have become more aware of the importance of using our voices to fight causes important to our people, specifically fighting social injustice. We corporately support the causes and turn our volunteer efforts to them and associated organizations.