At DHG, we’re focused on supporting the well-being of our people in all aspects of their lives, and one of the ways we do that is through our local DHG IMPACT Committees. Amanda Sterwerf serves as the Chair of DHG’s Asheville IMPACT Committee. She joins us to talk about some of the innovative and fun things she and her fellow Committee members are doing to make an impact in the office and the local community.
You are incredibly passionate about giving back to your local community, where does your passion stem from?
When I started at DHG, I was new to the area and I really wanted to learn more about Asheville and everything the city had to offer. Asheville is such a hub for non-profit organizations, there are just so many in the area, and I knew I wanted to get involved in some way. I ended up joining the Junior League of Asheville and went on to serve on the board. Their mission is to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women, and improve the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. I was really excited to learn about DHG’s new IMPACT Committees and I knew I wanted to get involved. We have so many amazing people in the Asheville office and it is a privilege to be able to help get them plugged into the community and to see their passion evolve.
Talk about some of the fun things you and the Asheville IMPACT Committee have organized in the office?
Across the firm each month we celebrate a different pillar of DHG IMPACT – Health, Community, Financial, Sustainability and Team – and how it plays a role in the well-being of our people. In January, for Health month, we knew we had to be creative to get people involved since it was the heart of busy season. We really wanted to remind people that you can be active and get a workout in when it works for you, even if it’s just for 30-45 minutes. So, for 4 weeks, every Tuesday at 5:30pm, we had some sort of workout in one of our office conference rooms. The workout was different each week – we had Zumba, high intensity interval training, yoga, and resistance band work. We wanted people to see that there are all kinds of ways to exercise and stay in shape.
In February, for Team month, we focused on inclusion and diversity and Black History Month. We worked with our local United Way representatives to brainstorm ideas and potential speakers to come into the office to talk to the team about inclusion and diversity. Tyrone Greenlee, an amazing member of the Asheville community, ended up coming in to speak with us. One of the things he talked about was desegregation, which is something he lived through in the Asheville community. He talked a lot about implicit bias and what it feels like to grow up as a minority in a predominantly white city. It was an eye opening session, everyone left having a different perspective on inclusion and diversity.
In March, to go along with Women’s History Month, we partnered with a local women’s shelter called HelpMate to support women and children who are victims of domestic violence. We hosted a drive throughout the month to collect supplies to assemble hygiene kits and we got together at the end of the month to assemble the kits. We ended up assembling and donating over 50 kits!
How do you encourage people in your office to get involved and become passionate about giving back?
I never want to have to assign people to be on the IMPACT committee, I only want them to participate if it is something they are passionate about. At our first meeting, we went around and talked about the areas of IMPACT and what we are each most passionate about. If you have a passion for health, those are the months we want you to be plugged in. We truly believe that the excitement and energy around IMPACT starts with our Committee, if we’re not excited about the events and what we’re doing, the office is not going to be excited and we’re not going to have great support. It’s definitely a committee-wide effort, we have amazing people with great ideas.
With Earth Day coming up, what have you done or what do you have planned to touch on the sustainability side of IMPACT?
We’re working on swapping out paper and plastic products in the office with sustainable options, especially when we host office lunch and learns or social events. With Chuck the Cup Day coming up (when all DHG offices ban paper products for one day), it will be a great opportunity for us to really roll out this initiative.
We also hosted a recent lunch and learn with a local nonprofit called ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) which focuses on helping local farms thrive and building healthy communities through connections to local food. It was great to have them come talk to us and to learn more about what they do in the community.
Amanda has been with DHG for 7 years in the Asheville, NC office. She is an Assurance Manager who works primarily with the firm’s Financial Services Group. Over the past 9 months, Amanda has served as the Asheville office’s first IMPACT Committee Chair. On most weekends, you can find Amanda hanging out with her family and friends (and dog, Dolly!) around Asheville. Amanda has always loved music – she and her husband, Nathan have an exciting line-up of concerts planned for this spring!