Tocqueville Member Spotlight: Pam Herbst

A long time donor, Pam joined the Tocqueville Society in 2017.  Like many Tocqueville donors, Pam Herbst got involved with United Way through her workplace campaign. Pam serves as Managing Director for AEW, one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world and recent sponsor of Greater Boston Project Connect.

Pam is not only a tremendous professional leader in her industry and in the Greater Boston area, but also she has been instrumental in facilitating AEW’s tremendous philanthropic footprint in the region. Personally, Pam utilizes her hard-earned leadership skills on many non-profit boards, including the Urban Land Institute. Pam is a member of the Board of Directors for United Way, serving as chair of the Real Estate Committee and on the Investment Committee and the Real Estate.

Pam is thoughtful and caring, and brings those qualities to her work every day, especially with United Way. We recently asked her about her United Way experiences. Her  responses are included below:

Pam, can you tell us why you’re so invested in United Way?

I am a strong believer in giving back to organizations that can make a difference in the lives of so many people. I chose the United Way because I have been a supporter of the organization since I graduated from college. My first employer after college was New England Life Insurance Company who eventually merged with Met Life. New England Life (“The New England” prior to its merger with Met Life) was a very strong supporter of the United Way through workplace campaigns and other fund raising events. As a result, I began my career seeing mentors that I admired focused on the importance of giving their time, talent and money to the United Way and other worthwhile non for profit organizations in Boston. That philosophy stuck to me like glue.

How have you been impacted by volunteering and personally giving to United Way?

As a Board member, you are involved in the strategy and management of the organization as well as understanding the opportunities and challenges facing the agency. While it is a very important role, there is nothing like being on the ground at an event working closely with the staff to see how they interact with the beneficiaries and personally getting to know them and witness their passion and commitment for their mission to serve people in need. It is a great feeling to see the gratitude that the beneficiaries have for what the United Way provides to them. This past Friday, I volunteered at Project Connect for the second year. I guided a mother of four children around to the services booths and got an opportunity to see how the services, work clothing, back to school backpacks, and the general interaction of the staff with her put a smile on her face. She actually sang her favorite church song to me for her gratitude for the day.

Above:  Volunteers (including Pam!) head into Project Connect to meet the families they will be hosting for the day.

What does being a Tocqueville member mean to you?

Honestly, it is not so much about being a Tocqueville member but rather being among a  group of people who care about other people.

What do you wish everyone knew about the partnership between AEW and United Way?

I wish that people would get involved and gain an understanding of how giving both money and time positively  impacts your life. It helps you appreciate what you have and puts things into perspective. One of my younger colleagues attended Project Connect with me as a volunteer and he told me that being at the event helped him better understand exactly what the United Way brings to the table; developing the concept of helping the Homeless get back on track, organizing the event from bringing in all of the services and volunteers to communicating with the beneficiaries, to continually working each year toward process improvement and growing the event so that more people in need can be served. He said that a light bulb went off.

What are some of your favorite United Way moments – with AEW and/or individually?

There have been many great moments but the most notable one has been watching our younger employees at AEW become involved and actually take the lead on the United Way workplace campaign and other United Way events. One of my colleagues, Matt DeNoble has stepped up in a very big way and watching him advocate for the agency and transition into a leadership role has been great! I also need to give a huge shout out to AEW which is incredibly generous around charitable giving. They give money and allow their employees the time to attend workday volunteer opportunities and don’t really count the hours on the clock. If it is worthwhile, the company supports it.

This year marked the second of three years that United Way did Project Connect that AEW served as a platinum sponsor for the event.

Anything else not captured by the above questions that is important to you?

When I started volunteering my time to various not for profit agencies, I thought that it was something that everyone did. Realizing that it is not the case, I have been humbled and honored to be recognized for my involvement.

Thank you, Pam.  We are so grateful to count you as an advocate.