-Elizabeth Pargaman, Marketing Associate
One of my favorite traditions at PersoniFest, our annual user conference, is called Personify Gives Back. This is a custom where we provide visibility and a financial donation to a non-profit organization based in the city where we hold our conference as a way to say “thank you” to our host town. It is a difficult task to narrow down our selection to one organization, and 2018 proved no exception.
This year, Personify selected the Andy Roddick Foundation (ARF), which works with the Austin community to expand opportunities for young people to learn, thrive and succeed. The ARF is focused on closing the educational achievement gap by providing children with abundant opportunities outside of the school day and their leaders envision “a world where all young people have endless opportunities to realize and achieve their potential.” Working with local leaders and volunteers enables the organization to educate young people in literacy, STEM, sports and arts through their quality after school activities and summer programs – during months and times of day when statistics show their typically most at risk for falling behind.
At Personify, we are committed to giving back to our community and ensuring that we do our part to enrich the lives of younger generations. In his keynote at PersoniFest, our President and CEO Eric Thurston shared that it is crucial to “think global and act local” and I believe that this is especially true when it comes to giving back to the community.
My team and I were fortunate to attend the Andy Roddick Foundation 3rd Annual Luncheon in Austin hosted by Brooklyn Decker and Anna Dukes Delic, both of whom are heavily involved in the foundation. The luncheon focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion and how we can create leadership opportunities for women beginning early in life. The panel featured an amazing lineup of speakers including Gay Gaddis, Founder and CEO of advertising agency T3; Maricé Brown, head of J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank of Central Texas; and Dr. Collette Pierce Burnette, the first female president of Huston-Tillotson University. These women were chosen not only for their significant contributions to the Austin community, but also for leading the way in tearing down the glass ceiling.
We also heard from a panel of children who attended ARF’s recent spring break trips. It was heartening to hear camp stories from these children, some of whom had not previously attended a sleep-away camp or been away from their parents for this period of time.
The kids on the panel shared their advice of not being afraid to face one’s fears or in kid-speak, “Don’t be a chicken!” This insight came about as a panelist discussed navigating the high ropes course during the ARF spring break camp. He said that he was terrified but knew he could complete the challenge if he continued to push forward.
During PersoniFest, the ARF set up a booth where our attendees cut strips of fabric that will be used for arts and crafts activities at an upcoming camp. It reinforced for me how I can help empower children through the smallest of actions. I look forward to Personify’s continued partnership with the Andy Roddick Foundation and additional opportunities to support their mission.