When giving back means more than simply donating your time but rather a sense of purpose.
Letese Lamb is the VP of Personnel at Elevate, a woman-owned and woman-led business established to help nonprofit organizations of all sizes build, sustain, and grow effective grant programs.
1. Are you from Pittsburgh? Have you ever lived anywhere else? Yes, but I’m originally from Alabama. I moved to Pennsylvania at the age of four and then returned to Alabama for college. I also lived in the DMV (DC, Maryland, VA) area.
2. Why did you choose to make Southwest PA your home? I grew up in Monroeville, so when I returned to PA, Southwestern PA seemed like a natural choice.
3. Tell us a little about your family. I’ve been married for almost seven years to my husband, Jason. I have two stepchildren, Nate (21) and Sydney (15). Additionally, I have four nieces and nephews that I claim as my own – Jamaya (22), Chris (16), Nevaeh (9), and Aniyah (4). I’ve tried to steal the from my sister, but she won’t let me. I have six beautiful children that are thriving! They are my world.
4. How did you choose the career you’re in today? (a story from college maybe, or a high school internship you’ve had?) When I was an undergraduate at Tuskegee University, I had a work-study job in the Career Development Center. I assisted recruiters from around the U.S. during our biannual job fairs and when they came back for campus visits. Additionally, I was responsible for posting job notices for students. I loved every aspect of the job and that’s when I knew I wanted to go into human resources.
5. What do you love most about your job? I am a problem solver by nature and human resources allows me to be a problem solver for individual employees at an organizational strategic level.
6. What is something people might not know about you? That I have a creative side. I enjoy decorating and planning events.
7. What is your favorite book or TV show and why? Currently, I’m really enjoying Abbott Elementary. I like it because it uses comedy, in a mockumentary style, to bring attention to the needs of our education system.
8. What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work? I am currently working on my own health and wellbeing – something I made a promise to focus on during the pandemic. I used to be an avid reader, but it has gotten away from me in the last few years. My goal is to reinvest myself into reading.
9. Why do you think it’s so important to give back to your community? I think it is important to give back because you are your community. When my niece, Nevaeh, was born extremely premature, she spent the first six months of her life away from the family due to many complications. I was so grateful that she was able to stay in the Children’s Home. Also, my mother has lupus – a disease that impacts the African American female community heavily. She has gained a community through her lupus group sponsored by The Lupus Foundation of Pittsburgh. It is important to me that I give back to organizations that have helped the people that I love and care for.
10. Why do you volunteer with United Way? For me, service gives me purpose. I volunteer with United Way because I think my time is as equally as important as what I’m able to donate financially. I love volunteering with United Way, specifically because I can involve my family! It’s important to me that I’m teaching my children the importance of providing service to others in need.
11. What is your favorite United Way memory? A few years ago, my daughter and my niece joined me at a United Way scarf making event. They loved it! I was also joined by friends and colleagues; it was a great opportunity to bond while doing good. Additionally, it was also around the holidays so there were cookies and hot chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that, especially when kids are involved!