I am happy to present the second installment of the Good Citizen Interview Series, where I talk with inspiring individuals in the areas of service and volunteerism. This week I interviewed someone I have known for quite a while, Jeff Hoffman.
Jeff Hoffman is an accomplished corporate executive who has served on the global stage in the areas of corporate philanthropy, human resources, operations, special projects and events. Known as a leader in the volunteerism field, Jeff is a member of the Board of Directors of the Points of Light Institute and its Hands On Network.
Read the interview below to see what makes Jeff such an inspiration.
Brad: How did your childhood affect your motivation to give back?
Jeff: Growing up with civically engaged parents in a close-knit community contributed to my inclination to get involved. The more involved, the more aware. The more aware, the stronger the urge to do something positive. Today I think I am a fairly informed person on issues important to my neighborhood, nation and the world. Based on my answer of what motivates me, this causes a big challenge. I want to do way more than is possible for me both with time and money. The cover of the New Year edition of the New York Times Magazine quoted Massimo Vignelli. “One life is too short for doing everything.” This really resonates with me. There is so much to do, so much opportunity, so many issues that need addressing. My friend and colleague, Michelle Nunn, likes to talk about “citizen-centered solutions.” Everybody can do something to make a positive change. This motivates me to help other people become engaged. Engaged in a meaningful way.
Brad: What has service taught you about yourself or the world?
Jeff: The essence and beauty of diversity is the greatest lesson I have learned through service. This is a big world. Cultures, ethnicity, languages, geography, water, weather, design, food, education, political systems and socioeconomic condition all are a part of the rich diversity. This diversity also causes problems such as poverty, conflict and environmental degradation. Understanding, experiencing and feeling differences through my volunteering and philanthropy work has made me a much more empathetic person.
Brad: What causes are you most passionate about?
Jeff: Often people ask me what causes I am most passionate about. This is a tough question for me as I look at issues through a holistic lens. Cause and effect. Everything is interconnected. Having said this, I believe that most issues we face as a society can be solved if we steer youth towards a path to success. A great education, strong support systems, safe and nurturing environment and a strong sense of responsibility. Responsibility of self and community. Keep them in school, focused and with realistic goals and aspirations that will lead towards a productive place in society. At any given time it seems like I have at least a couple of mentees. The organization I am most passionate about is Points of Light. This year marks my 25th year of involvement with POL. I currently serve on the board of directors and chair resource development. Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. We mobilize people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns. Points of Light is creating a culture of volunteerism, one that celebrates the power of service.
Brad: What does being a Good Citizen mean to you?
Jeff: Being a Good Citizen means many things to me. Living life with integrity. In my business, it means helping companies develop strategies and plans around corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and civic engagement. Equipping them, and their employees, with the philosophies, practices and tools to be Good Corporate Citizens in a way that creates true shared value and collective impact. In my civic life, promoting action and engagement through Points of Light, California Volunteers, the USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and as program director of The Conference Board’s Global Social Investing Council. At home of being a good husband, taking care of my 92 year old father, participating at community meetings, donating to the homeless shelter, being an active neighbor and saying hello to people I don’t know.
You can learn more about Jeff’s work at Jeff Hoffman & Associates and Points of Light.