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Q&A: Volunteer Culture at Ensono

Meredith Graham

Meredith Graham
Chief People Officer, Ensono

Volunteering is rewarding but isn’t easy to get around to. Even with the best intentions to volunteer, you must commit time out of your already jam-packed day and opportunities can easily slip through the cracks.

Through dedicated volunteer opportunities, our associates find they can meet new people, learn new skills and take on challenges they haven’t experienced before.

Those are just some of the benefits to a truly honorable, selfless act. We hope this Q&A with Ensono associates will inspire you to schedule time to volunteer. After all, everyone could use a little helping hand.


Greg Ota, Database Administrator/Client Technical Lead 

Q. Where do you volunteer? 

A. I currently volunteer with several services at my church. I’ve also participated in previous Ensono workdays like the Northern Illinois Food Bank and for the AVP Tournament while in Chicago. I volunteered at the Medal of Honor Convention and the National Guard Association of the U.S. when they were in Chicago, and I plan on volunteering at the Warrior Games in Chicago this summer. 

This year I am using my volunteer day to support the 501(c)3 SQL Saturday in Chicago which is an educational free one-day seminar for the SQL Server in Addison this March. 

Q. What makes you passionate about that cause? 

A. I’ve always enjoyed serving. I like to get things done behind the scenes, and I when I started volunteering in high school and college, I found that being someone who can make things happen is very rewarding. 

Q. What advice would you give other Ensono associates who are considering volunteer opportunities? 

A. Find a cause you enjoy, opportunities that fit your personality, and people you like to hang out with. It’s not really working if you’re enjoying it. 


Natalia Jenkins, Support Specialist, Culture & People Experience 

Q. Where do you volunteer? 

A. I volunteer for a charity called Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which is a military charity to help bereaved British Forces children. I’ve done anything from awareness stands at local and national events, sending out a few mail shots to local businesses, and standing on busy high streets holding a bucket all day hoping for donations — right down to coordinating my own events. 

Q. What makes you passionate about that cause? 

A. Sadly, a friend of mine was killed serving in Afghanistan, just two days before Christmas in 2011. He left behind one of my best friends and her two young boys. After supporting larger military charities for several years, I wanted to find one that specifically helped the children left behind and where I could see how they were directly supported. 

I found Scotty’s online when the charity was barely a year old and was held together by the founder and three full-time, unpaid volunteers. At the time, they were recruiting for Area Fundraising Coordinators, so I signed up. I’ve watched the charity grow from 25 likes on their Facebook page to 64,650 over the last few years. They went from supporting 20 children to 270 children, many of whom I have met. Being able to see the direct support the charity offers to children and young people is incredibly heartwarming. 

Q. What advice would you give other Ensono associates who are considering volunteer opportunities? 

A. Don’t ever feel like what you’re doing, or the time you’re able to offer, isn’t enough. If you can spare anything, you’re still helping. Even if you can only give an hour or help with small administrative tasks, everything you do helps. 

Also, be sure to remain positive. There will be times when your presence isn’t appreciated – whether you’re out raising awareness or on social media. Not everyone will have the same passion or beliefs as you do for the charity or causes that you support, and that’s okay. 


Luis Bonilla, Senior Mainframe Systems Programmer 

Q. Where do you volunteer? 

A. Hesed House, House of Restoration, BACA, and Little Angels (Harley Davidson). 

Q. What makes you passionate about that cause? 

A. I grew up in low-income areas. I know what it is to live with just bread and water. My family found help through the church and community programs, and since then I’ve been taught to give without expecting. People in my past have invested in my and my family’s lives, and now I want to invest in someone else’s life. 

Q. What advice would you give other Ensono associates who are considering volunteer opportunities? 

A. Create a legacy of giving, loving and passion. Put yourself aside and invest in someone else’s life and future. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works. 


Michelle McKown, Sr. Manager Strategic Sourcing 

Q. Where do you volunteer? 

A. I volunteer with Junior Achievement, Bethlehem House, and the TSD Festival. 

Q. What makes you passionate about that cause? 

A. I am passionate about these programs because they are all about the children and building them a brighter future. It’s incredibly rewarding to help them build a solid foundation for their education and professional careers. 

Q. What advice would you give other Ensono associates who are considering volunteer opportunities? 

A. Our lives can be very stressful, and you may think you just don’t have time to volunteer because of all your other obligations. But those hours can be just the reset you need to gain a clear perspective and re-energize your spirit. 

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