A quiet leader inspires others.
Each October, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library staff from all 20 locations convene at ImaginOn for a day of professional development, training, camaraderie, reflections on the year’s achievements and strategic priorities for the year ahead.
One of the most highly anticipated components of Staff Day is the presentation of awards, and this year saw a new one: the Philanthropy Ambassador award. This award was established by the Foundation to recognize a Library staff member who exemplifies a philanthropic spirit in their personal and professional life, and is a model and an inspiration for others. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize, half given to the recipient personally and half to the Library branch or service area of the recipient’s choosing.
It was our privilege this year to honor Debbie Gwinn with the first Philanthropy Ambassador award. Debbie is a quiet leader who was nominated multiple times by colleagues who cited not only her selfless contributions of time, energy, and financial resources throughout the community, but also the effect she has on coworkers. In the (abbreviated) words of Debbie’s colleagues:
- Debbie is the epitome of philanthropy. She brings library staff and the community together. I have seen Debbie take hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket for library and community efforts. Debbie is selfless – thinking of others in their time of need.
- Debbie makes me want to be a better person. I find myself tied into every event that Debbie hosts. I feel that I now have an impact on my employer’s stability as well as the community we support.
- Debbie truly leads by example. Philanthropy is who she is- a caring, committed, thoughtful, selfless individual.
- I am inspired by Debbie daily, she is not one to toot her own horn. She has a giving heart and has raised her children to be the same giving and caring adults. I have gotten involved on several occasions because of her enthusiasm.
The Foundation created this award to celebrate the partnership between the Library and the Library Foundation, and to continue to grow a spirit of philanthropy within the organization. In keeping with her generosity of character, Debbie sees this honor as one to be shared, noting “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve our community and to be able to share opportunities throughout the year with staff…I cannot overemphasize the importance of staff in contributing to the success of our involvement.”
Congratulations, Debbie…we can’t imagine a more worthy recipient of the first Philanthropy Ambassador award.