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21st Century Leaders Springing Up From Ranks of AmeriCorps Alums

March 8, 2013

As AmeriCorps Week and the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps approaches, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the leadership foundation that AmeriCorps has created for many of its alumni. With over 800,000 AmeriCorps Alums, many of our fellow alumni are matriculating into positions of leadership- calling the shots for multi-million dollar organizations that are national and international in scope. Two such alumni are Delores Morton, President of Programs at Points of Light and Emily Gilliland, Executive Director at HandsOn Network.

Read their stories below to hear how they have used their AmeriCorps experience as part of their professional experience.

2013.03.Delores_Morton.175x175Ms. Delores Morton
AmeriCorps Program: Rural Development AmeriCorps
Years served: 1995-1996

I was privileged to complete a year of AmeriCorps service in my home community of St. Mary Parish Louisiana.  It was a unique opportunity to explore a career path that I had not previously considered and to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of sharing personal gifts with the very community that nurtured me throughout my childhood.  The AmeriCorps  experience placed me in a real world laboratory where I was able to move ideas for volunteer engagement into actual programs that were creating impact.  I have continued to lean on these experiences throughout my career and my passion for impact and results driven service is a direct result of my service year.  Among the most valuable skills I have carried with me in the 17 years since are creativity and resourcefulness.  These are skills that are transferrable and can be leveraged in any professional environment—corporate, government, or nonprofit—and have found myself leaning on these skills time and again with excellent results.

2013.03.Emily.Gilliland.175x175Ms. Emily Gilliland
AmeriCorps Program: Volunteer Maryland
Year served: 1996-1998

My Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps experience advanced my career in many amazing ways most notably through expanding my network, deepening my job skills through the support of mentors, and providing me a voice. I am grateful that during my service I volunteered at many other AmeriCorps sites which, gave me new perspective on community needs, the impact of volunteering, and the power of collective impact. I have found that along my career path, continued service keeps delivering! Volunteering helps me reflect on my purpose and power while connecting with others towards impact. It’s how I stay motivated.

My AmeriCorps experience fuels my career path in that I continue to find inspiration on the work I accomplished and the work I started but didn’t finish during my terms of service. Finding fellow Alums and continually connecting with those Alums I meet provides a brain trust to think big and work together towards our collective ideals. I also find that talking about my terms of service and declaring that I am an Alum provides credibility to get a job, take on new responsibility, and stay on a path of fulfilling, community-centered work.

Do you know other standout 21st Century AmeriCorps Alums leaders? Share with us in the comments below!

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