Member Voices: Lorene Phillips, Impact Austin Icon
By Kalí Rourke
In celebration of our 20th anniversary year, Impact Austin is sharing a variety of stories from and about our members. Each story is unique to the voice (or voices) we profile, but each also speaks to one aspect of our extraordinary collective.
Lorene Phillips has become something of an icon at Impact Austin over the years. Since joining for the grant year of 2010, Lorene has seemed to be everywhere!
She joined Impact Austin, worked on her first Grant Review Committee, and realized something important.
“It hit me that Impact Austin was a completely different experience from anything else I had worked on. Instead of fundraiser after fundraiser or gala after gala, this was so straightforward. I loved that my energy, enthusiasm, and funds were spent on the mission!”
We asked what her next step had been, after working on several GRCs.
“I was elected to the Board of Impact Austin and eventually became its President. I co-chaired the Membership Committee, chaired the Personnel Committee, and got deeply involved as Impact Austin began its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee.”
In addition to these official duties, Lorene is a frequent contributor to panels and other outreach activities. Recently she joined Becky Austen to co-chair the Strategic Advisory Council. She has left her mark on Impact Austin in so many ways, and many people have been greeted and welcomed by her warm personality and stunning smile.
We asked her why she had taken on so many duties for Impact Austin.
Lorene laughed and said, “I think because people I liked and respected asked me! My logic for choosing something I will do - my job, if you will - is that it has to be something I enjoy doing and it has to make an impact.
“I was raised knowing that we all have an obligation to give back, however we can. I also believe that you can never receive if your fists are closed. So I keep my hands open. My involvement with Impact Austin has blessed me in many ways, kept me connected and vital, even as I retired from my career, and I have no intention of stopping!”
We asked Lorene if there was any advice she would give a new member of Impact Austin.
She answered, “In my professional career I observed that people often complain about things without ever researching them or offering a potential solution. It was refreshing to work with so many other women at Impact Austin who are dedicated to supporting potential solutions that nonprofits want to try for some of the toughest problems out there.”
Lorene continued, “My advice to new members is to look around at all the ways you can serve the mission. It may be a Grant Review Committee, and frankly, that is a great place to start. But you will get so much more out of your membership if you stay open to bringing your time and talent in additional ways to support the good work Impact Austin does. Whether it is a Financial Committee, the Marketing or Membership Committee, or something completely different…
“Find what you love doing, and then do it!”
Explore how to be involved hands-on with Impact Austin's mission, as Lorene is.
Check out volunteer opportunities here.