In our Campfire Stories, we spotlight Appi Campers and share their stories in their own words. In times like these where we are adapting to new circumstances every day, we invite you to get to know us and lean on our community- the app marketing experts and your camp friends- as we continue to grow, step forward, and learn together as a community.
Vicki Goldman’s Campfire Story
Vicki Goldman is a Director of Marketing at Paramount Streaming, but when she is not driving app installs and subscriptions, she volunteers as co-chair of The Guardians of Los Angeles Women’s Division. The mission of The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home is to provide financial support for members of the senior community who are served by the Los Angeles Jewish Home through residential and community-based programs. As a leader for The Guardians, Vicki leads monthly meetings and motivates members to raise money and volunteer at fundraising events that support the elderly which are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
Moving to a new city and finding your place can be challenging, especially in an enormous city such as Los Angeles. When I first moved to LA, I was not only looking to get involved with my new community, but to also make friends in a city that I hadn’t lived in before. I wanted to find the perfect match between an organization that gave back and a group that actually participated and enjoyed going to and hosting events in the area.
I went and talked to a few different groups before I found The Guardians of Los Angeles Women’s Division. So many of these groups’ goals are to give back to their community and make a difference, but an added bonus is that you meet really interesting people and get to hear their stories and why they decided to get involved. There are a lot of Jewish, young professional groups out there (especially in LA) but this group stood out against the rest because their mission involves giving back rather than purely participating in social events. The Guardians also isn’t exclusive to the Jewish community, we give back to the entire community of Los Angeles, which was important to me as well.
There are so many amazing reasons why I love working with The Guardians, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, just like there are in any large organization. Covid has been really challenging for us. It has been hard getting people excited and enthusiastic about Zoom events when the in-person events were why so many people joined. The Zoom fatigue was definitely real, especially when we were on calls all day at our day jobs. It was hard to motivate people to join these meetings over Zoom at the end of their day even though they were only on a monthly basis. The monthly meetings used to be my favorite day of the month and unfortunately, the virtual meeting days turned into one of the more stressful days on my calendar.
Thankfully now that covid concerns are becoming more of everyday life and less restrictive, we are starting to bring back more in-person events! We hosted a golf tournament recently that was a big hit and had an amazing turnout. This year we are already planning more face to face events, which I think will really help raise more money and get people excited about The Guardians again. I know how important it is for people to really feel like they are part of a community that gives back but also cares for one another. These in person, social events really bring us together and I’m looking forward to the events we are putting together this year.
We also have been able to bring back face to face volunteering initiatives in addition to the social events. Our group has been able to go back and volunteer with the elderly who feel comfortable being around us. It’s important for us to just be friendly faces for people to talk to that may not have been around friends or family due to what these last few years have put us through. We are also planning our annual charity poker tournament in Hollywood Park Casino. Events that combine a social aspect with fundraising are ideal and I have missed them the most during the pandemic.
Another challenge for us has to do with staffing. At The Guardians, we actually had full time, paid staff that would help run and motivative the group. In 2020, so many people moved away from Los Angeles because we could get by virtually. Now that we are back in-person and really need full time employees, it’s been challenging to find people willing to commit. I’ve learned that with the lack of full time staff, everyone in leadership roles has to step up and take on more responsibility within our group.
The challenges that Covid has brought to The Guardians are ones that we are seeing in our day jobs as well. Everyone is trying to find the perfect balance between safety and routine. We are, however, seeing more people rejoining in-person events and the spirit that I was drawn to at this organization is back.
Right now, as co-chair I lead the monthly meeting with the Women’s Division. We get updates from all the board members and talk about what events are coming up and any future ideas on both the social and fundraising side of things. Basically, I try to facilitate these events and get people excited and motivated! However, with the lack of staff it is a lot more work than it used to be and we are really relying on each other to pick up any extra work that needs to be done. We truly are a community that depends on one another.
My advice to anyone who wants to get involved with their community is to just start going to meetings and see which one you resonate with the most. I explored a few options before I found The Guardians and I’m so happy I was able to find one that checked all of my boxes rather than settle. Another piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid to take leadership positions in these groups. My role as co-chair came organically because I was genuinely excited to help plan and nurture these volunteering opportunities. Giving back to your community not only benefits the people you are helping, but can be an amazing way to grow leadership and interpersonal skills outside the corporate walls.
Want to learn more about Vicki?! Message her on Linkedin to chat about her work at The Guardians and how you can get involved with your community.