As I considered the ways that I could give back to the community, I realized that, throughout my working career, I had somewhat disregarded my passion for music. I was an avid guitarist from the age of thirteen, and in college, I taught myself some elementary piano. My musical interests have always been multi-faceted, but one of my memorable experiences was playing guitar in high school and college “jazz ensemble” – a big band format.
Columbus is lucky to have one of the finest jazz orchestras in the world, led by the inimitable Byron Stripling. It seemed to be an obvious choice to offer my support to the Jazz Arts Group.
I contacted the organization's director, Bob Breithaupt, and asked how I might be able to serve the organization as a volunteer. He eagerly arranged a joint meeting with the board president at that time, Gil Gradisar. We met for lunch and discussed how I might fit in. I was pleased and honored to be invited to join the board of directors, and I have been a director for eight and a half years. A few years ago, I was further honored to be selected as the president of the board. Since serving as president, I have served as chair of the governance committee.
In many ways, serving on a nonprofit board has been a rewarding experience. I have always felt that I was contributing to a great cause, but there have been other rewards, as well. I made many friends and business contacts through my service – people I most certainly would never have met had it not been for my commitment to the Jazz Arts Group.
If you have not found a way to give back to your community, I urge you to take action now. Find a cause that you are passionate about, whether it is supporting the arts, feeding the hungry, preventing abuse, saving animals, or preserving the environment. Your help is needed, and you will gain personal rewards that you cannot even imagine. Make it a goal, and make it happen. You'll be glad you did!