Living a life with purpose is something we all strive for, more so at this time of our lives than ever before. Some of us were lucky enough to have had the time to serve on various non-profit boards during our careers and, hopefully, we were able to make a real contribution while we were there. However, not many of us stuck with one organization for decades and made a lasting impact for the organization and the people they served. One PRiME woman has done just that, Suzanne Charriere.
Suzanne’s passion for Goodwill started 26 years ago when a friend asked her to serve on the local board in Dallas. The first time she walked through their doors and met the people they served, Suzanne was in love with Goodwill. “It was so humbling to see these people who were overcoming major disabilities in an effort to work because they wanted to be a contributing member of society. They were so proud to have a job and had so much happiness in their hearts; it made all my small, petty problems insignificant. I knew then that for the rest of my life, I wanted to bring attention to Goodwill and the people they serve.” And Suzanne set about doing just that.
Taking a seat on the board was just the beginning for Suzanne. She then set about using her considerable influence in the community over the next 26 years to attract countless board members with significant resources to help Goodwill in their mission. She not only gave her time and money but enlisted the help of her employer, Corgan Associates who made major donations in equipment and sponsorship. Suzanne organized the first Goodwill golf tournament 17 years ago and either chaired or co-chaired it for the next 15 years, raising over two million dollars.
You will still find Suzanne at most every Goodwill board meeting though her time on the executive committee, president of the board and foundation have come and gone, her commitment has not. Summing up her thoughts on Goodwill, she says, “There are very few organizations that have done so much for their communities as Goodwill has. They not only provide employment for many who are largely unemployable but they also provide job training to thousands of people every year. Most people don’t realize what a wonderful gift they are giving when they donate their clothing and household goods. Goodwill is so much more than their retail stores. They are a lifeline to some of our most marginalized members of society.”
Now that we are entering the PRiME of our life and have more time to devote to worthwhile causes, it may be time to take one of those experiences that you were most passionate about and make it your “living with purpose” cause. We’ll also be devoting the next “living with purpose” article to various organizations from around the world who’s goal is to improve the lives of others. There’s a place for all of us to serve. Like Suzanne, we just need to find our passion and start giving.