Q & A with our WaveMaker of the Month – Michelle E. HellickJune 14, 2019
We’re pleased to highlight our OceanFirst Bank colleagues who are making a difference with the Foundation’s nonprofit community partners – we call them the “WaveMakers” and they are extraordinary leaders and volunteers.
How long have you been a member of the OceanFirst Bank team?
I have been a member of the OceanFirst Bank team, as a Credit Analyst in Commercial Lending, since December of 2015, through the acquisition of Cape Bank. Prior to Cape Bank, I spent 5 years at Sun National Bank; where I started in retail banking.
Tell us about your favorite volunteer activities.
It truly is hard to say because I enjoy each opportunity and experience that I am a part of. However, most recently, my favorite volunteer activities have been serving the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ and Habitat for Humanity. I can think of nothing more important than helping to provide food and shelter to those less fortunate. Plus, I learned how to use certain power tools and put siding on a house! It’s likely I would have never developed those skills had I not volunteered to help. Another favorite is teaching donation yoga classes where collected funds go to support a cause or organization.
What motivates you to stay involved and give back through volunteering?
The impact made. I have been volunteering at different organizations and events for over 15 years. While the tasks are always changing, both big and small, the feeling of helping others is always the same. It’s a priceless reward; for both myself and those involved. It is not what you have in life but what you give that makes a true impact on people and can change lives. I will always continue to give back in hopes that, through my actions and support, I can inspire others to do the same.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent practicing and teaching yoga. I started practicing in 2015 and became a Registered Yoga Teacher in 2017. I also enjoy traveling as much as possible, spending time with family & friends, visiting local wineries, attending concerts & shows, watching my favorite tv series (esp. Friends!), and being outdoors.
What aspects of your work at you most passionate about?
Building relationships and knowing that I am a part of growth for an individual or company. My work helps to provide others the ability to make something happen that they may otherwise be unable to do.
Who inspires you? Why ?
Through volunteering and teaching yoga, I have connected with some truly inspiring people. There isn’t one specific person that inspires me most, but a combination of people who, despise the challenges they face, continue to show up; for themselves and for others! It isn’t about what they’ve gone through that inspires me, but how they were able to navigate through it and use those experiences to better themselves or help another.
What experience has been most impactful for you?
As far as volunteer experiences, my time spent at the Cathedral Kitchen has definitely been the most impactful for me. From the staff to the visitors, it has become one of my favorite places to offer my time. The time spent there opens your eyes to all the blessings you have and inspires you to give back, in any way, in hopes that it makes even the smallest impact on another person. In all of the years I’ve volunteered, I have spent the most time at the Kitchen.
What would be the ideal volunteer activity for you – and why?
There is no specific activity that would be ideal. However, it does have to include a mission or vision that I am passionate about because I want my time spent to be meaningful.