Page DeGregorio knows the United Way experience inside and out, but her latest venture is one of the most satisfying.
If United Way awarded trophies to its volunteers, Page DeGregorio would have run out of shelf space years ago. The Director of Community Relations at Brown Brothers Harriman, Page has been involved with United Way for 17 years and has pretty much done it all: served on committees, ran managed employee campaigns, was active with Emerging Leaders, and recruited colleagues to volunteer opportunities. (In honor of her work on behalf of United Way, she recently received the Live United Individual Spirit Award at the 2014 Community Celebration.)
It’s a full dance card of community engagement, but Page finds immense satisfaction that she is part of something bigger and with great consequence.
“In my role, many people ask why we work with United Way or why I donate to United Way,” she says. “United Way is the due diligence agent. They’re out there finding the best ‘investment’ for our contributions, they create solutions. It’s not just sending dollars and hoping the issues resolve themselves. There’s a strategy and a rigorous review process. Many of us (at BBH) have participated in agency review. It allows us to see where our dollars go and how we’re affecting the community.”
Nothing characterizes this as much as her role as mentor to two young women in the Marian L. Heard Scholars Program: Mandy, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts and Destiny, a freshman at Johnson & Wales.
Through United Way’s Marian L. Heard program, scholarship recipients are matched with volunteer mentors for the duration of their college careers. Mentors offer ongoing support and feedback through the oft-alien experience of attending college (many scholars are the first to attend school in their family).
“The discussions vary,” Page says. “Sometimes we talk about courses or balancing academics and community service and social time. Other times, it’s things like living with someone who isn’t their sibling. In a new environment little things like a roommate argument can be overwhelming.”
Page is quick to point out that she gets as much as she gives. With her relationship with Mandy and Destiny, she gets a front-row seat to the future.
“It’s exciting to help guide them,” she says. “Knowing both of these young women, whatever they set their minds to they’re definitely going to achieve.”