An Interview with Adele Chassaignac

As we near the end of our month of giving at DHG, it is the perfect occasion to shine a light on someone who truly represents our DHG values through their work in the community and their passion for giving back year-round. Adele Chassaignac, our 2017 DHG Community IMPACT Award winner, joins me to talk about her passion and the art of balancing her commitment to give back with her career growth at DHG.

Adele Chassaignac with her dog


Earlier this year you were named our 2017 DHG Community IMPACT Award winner – a recognition that honors your passion and the many hours you have spent volunteering and giving back to your Birmingham, AL community. Have you always been passionate about giving back or was there a moment or an event that sparked your passion?

I have always been passionate about animals and helping people, so I was able to combine those passions by becoming involved with Hand in Paw animal-assisted therapy. The Behavioral Health unit at Children’s Hospital of Alabama had been on the Hand in Paw waiting list for a while, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to work with children in need.

While extensive training is required to volunteer with Hand in Paw and Children’s Hospital of Alabama, local animal rescue groups and humane societies require minimal training and truly need help across the board from administrative related tasks to event planning to foster parenting.  

You spent more than 130 hours volunteering during a one-year time period, July 2016-2017. That’s remarkable! How do you balance your time giving back to the community with your commitment to career growth at DHG?

A few hours here and there add up! I am able to fit in some activities during the week, but most of my hours are logged on the weekend, whether it’s helping with Hand in Paw therapy team evaluations on a Saturday or volunteering as an Adoption Counselor at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society on a Sunday. Working for the causes I am passionate about energizes me.

Through your work in the community you are touching, and changing, many lives. Which causes or organizations are you currently working with in your community?

I am a visit assistant with Hand in Paw, and my primary therapy visits are at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. I am also heavily involved with some local animal rescues and our local humane society as an Adoption Ambassador, adoption counselor, foster parent, and I fill in as a spokesperson for the Pet of the Week segment at our local news station.

With so many options out there for our people to give back, choosing where or to whom to devote your time can be very intimidating. Do you have any advice on finding a cause or organization that aligns with what you’re passionate about?

Just follow your passion. There are groups and clubs devoted to just about every interest or cause imaginable, whether at a local or regional level. Once you get plugged into a group, the opportunities to become involved will naturally arise.