When giving is instilled at a young age and becomes as irresistible as receiving.
Blame it on Grandma: Jeanette Chu has an irresistible urge to volunteer.
“My grandmother instilled in me the value of giving back and helping others in need,” says the Morgan Stanley veteran, who is now Chief Operating Officer for Asia Technology and Data, based in Hong Kong.
Luckily, she says, her employer makes it easy: “Morgan Stanley provides plenty of opportunities for employees to give back. Senior management leads by example, and is very supportive of employees taking time off to volunteer.”
Chu likes to mix things up, signing on to help a variety of causes. “I see volunteering as a means for me to learn more about life, make new friends and try new things,” Chu says. “To be able to make a difference in someone else’s life, either directly or indirectly, is a very rewarding experience. To me, volunteering is as much about receiving as it is about giving.”
That’s a message Chu shares every chance she gets, encouraging others to give back by talking about what she gains by doing the same: that sense of reward, new friends, a new outlook, sometimes even new skills. “I’ll say, ‘find a cause or an organization that you are passionate about, and just give it a go! Every little effort helps. Don’t be shy — you will be surprised by the friendships you build through volunteering.’”
Chu’s favorite volunteer memory? Cooking at Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for the families of children who are receiving treatment in nearby hospitals. Chu visits annually and enjoys working with other volunteer cooks to prepare meals for the residents to enjoy.
The most rewarding? Working with Little Life Warrior Society and seeing kids successfully go through cancer treatment and into full recovery. “By organizing volunteering events through the years, many colleagues got to know more about childhood cancer and care provision for these patients in Hong Kong. My latest focus is on children with special needs and I look forward to working with different charity partners to raise awareness on support for these children,” says Chu.
It can be hard work, it’s often not glamorous, and it’s not always easy to carve out the time, but for Chu, giving back is a way of life that dates back to her childhood. “Volunteering is important to me and my family. It’s about sparing your time and energy to help people in need and bring joy to others.”