Volunteer Spotlight – Tashima Lessey

Hi. I’m Tashima from Brooklyn, NY. I’m in the process of launching a Virtual Assistant/Online Business Manager service while in a full time job search.

I’ve been involved with 48in48 since March 2023 where I was PM for Why We Care NFP during the Women’s Build Event. For the Social Justice Event I was on the planning committee and now I am co-lead for the Volunteer Recruitment sub-committee for the upcoming Global Build Event in October. 

I joined 48in48 through Volonda Harris who I met in a career networking group. In our chat she spoke about her volunteer experience and the networking opportunities and encouraged me to try my hand at being a PM. Volonda got me on the hook, but the website reeled me in. I was captivated by the mission but unsure as to whether I was up for the task.

My first build was something else. Not gonna lie, in the middle of the event I wondered to myself, how in the world is this thing going to come together? At one point, I had to jump on a couple of videos to quickly acquaint myself with WordPress so I could help build out pages. The challenges we faced felt insurmountable at times. The range of emotions I experienced that weekend threw me for a loop. After spending time getting to know the nonprofit leader and their mission, I was committed to them and their good work. Our team was invested in creating the best product we could and we had awesome support from event leaders. Sunday came, it’s the end of the build and, though small tweaks were still needed, we had a fully functioning website aligned to the nonprofit’s desires. Elated is too small and incomplete a word to describe how I felt and I couldn’t wait to sign up for the next build. 

Turning 50 and being on a long term job search can cause you to doubt yourself as you try to figure out the magic combination that will get someone to pick you for their team. Volunteering with 48in48 made me realize that I still have something to offer. I truly believe people are best when they are in community with one another. When we are open, we can learn and be better for our next encounter. I am certainly better. I had forgotten who I was in a challenging situation and it’s been awesome becoming reacquainted with that part of myself. I’ve gained practical experience with apps like Trello and, as of this writing, just this week, an experience helped me to confront some underlying beliefs I didn’t realize I had. 

Giving of yourself, making an impact in your community, being a good global citizen – I deeply value all of that. Unquestioningly, though,I’ve gotten something in return.