Have you ever heard the phrase “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person?” Some people I’ve encountered have told me they don’t have time or know how to go about getting involved with a charity in a meaningful way. I have found that my life has been greatly enriched by not only being busy in my work and family life but also by the work I’ve done through acts of service.
As a 21 year-old kid right out of Purdue, I learned what “pro bono” actually meant when I managed the publicity for the Walter Payton Foundation and its annual golf outing for several years. While I was donating my time on behalf of the PR firm where I worked, I experienced the awesome privilege and joy of working with the Chicago Bears great in supporting underserved students. In my next job, as a new Communications Manager at Chicago Title Insurance Company, I also led the Bowl-a-Thon for United Way, which spurred my interest to lead their Women’s Leadership Council 20 years later and brought me to now serving as a strategic advisor and sitting on the Chicago Cabinet with other CEOs. My love of the arts and culture within this great city prompted me to get involved with the Joffrey Women’s Board, which has helped me develop deep and meaningful relationships with other women I may never have met otherwise. Each experience has been worthwhile and taught me a lot.
Put more kindness and good in the world. Leave your mark and “do good.”
Our agency’s account work also has given me the opportunity to support so many great causes and shaped my understanding of the plights of others. It has given me empathy and compassion for individuals who are a lot like me but going through a trial or difficulty in their life. I subscribe to the belief that we’re only one situation or challenge away from being just like our neighbor in need.
With five kids and a business that I lead, people always ask me how I can possibly have time to support a number of great causes, work, and still be effective at anything. I always answer that the positivity and joy I get out of serving others makes it all worthwhile. I actually enjoy my life being crammed full of events and activities—many that involve giving back to Chicago and the people here. It’s incredible to watch what the work of many hands can do to change a lot of lives for the better.
So how do you get involved, you ask? You pay attention to what your passions are and find a cause that supports them. Ask your kids or your friends or family members for suggestions. It’s not just about giving a check or going to a gala or sitting on a board. It is about finding a way to make a tangible impact.
In this often negative landscape we live and work in, don’t waste a chance to serve others. Put more kindness and good in the world. Leave your mark and “do good.” Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Kathleen Henson is the proud mother of five incredible kids, ages 7-17 and the founder and CEO of Henson Consulting, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Chicago that employs more than 40 women and two brave men. Her company has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine for its unique corporate culture rooted in kindness, and the firm was recently named 2016 national Small PR Firm of the Year by PRNews. Follow her at @KathleenHenson on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.