Leading the way

Deciding to lead the 2017 United Way Campaign at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry was easy for Betty Holme. “I wanted to get involved with a project where I could provide opportunities for families in our community,” she said.

Having witnessed first hand how some Londoners must go without, Holme wants to be sure the programs in the city supported by the United Way continue to provide necessary services. “I remember when my youngest was in grade school and there was a little boy in her class whose family was struggling. If it wasn’t for the programs offered through the United Way, I’m not sure what would have happened to him or his family.”

Holme has set her sights on the School’s campaign goal, hoping that, faculty and staff will raise $150,000 – which constitutes 20 per cent of Western University’s overall goal. She’s also optimistic that the University’s goals for participation and leadership giving will be achieved.

While Holme is busy organizing a number of events and activities on campus for United Way, she is also working with the London Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Business Achievement Awards Committee. A volunteer with the Chamber for nine years, Holme currently serves as the coordinator of the Environment Award, a role that she welcomes and that provides her with the opportunity to review the nominations and take part in the site visits each year.

Community-mindedness has been high on Holme’s priority list for many years, and she credits Britta Winther, the former general manager for the London Convention Centre for first inspiring her to get involved. “Britta was a great mentor,” said Holme. “She took me under her wing, providing me with guidance and support and modelled the importance of volunteering,” she added.

It’s thanks to Winther’s encouragement that Holme started volunteering. And throughout her career, she has shared her skills with the Fanshawe Alumni Board for six years, serving as the first female board chair. She also worked with the Ability First Coalition for nearly a decade.

“Volunteering makes me feel like I’m helping an organization achieve its goals and making a difference,” she said.

With the many events and activities planned for the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry United Way campaign, Holme is sure to make a difference.

In the coming weeks, faculty and staff can expect the annual Cupcake Day for United Way, a wine raffle, pizza lunch, candy grams and a cake and basket auction.

There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved. And that’s exactly what Holme is hoping for with the campaign. “Every contribution, large or small, can make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “I encourage everyone to get involved whether through donation or by volunteering their time."