Learn more about John Lawson, United Way of Southeast Arkansas Campaign Co-Chair.
How did you become involved with The United Way of Southeast Arkansas?
I have always been aware of the United Way’s presence in Pine Bluff. However, it wasn’t until I became involved with other non-profits that I fully understood The United Way’s mission and learned that virtually every charitable organization around is dependent upon them for funding. I began helping with the annual fundraising efforts around 2010 and joined the board shortly thereafter. They haven’t fired me yet…
Can you tell me about the work The United Way of Southeast Arkansas does, and the programs it offers?
Southeast Arkansas is fortunate to have many programs that provide a wide array of vital services for area residents. Rather than competing amongst themselves for financial support, The United Way offers a streamlined approach where donors can make a single contribution which will ultimately go to benefit every partner agency. It really helps simplify the process for the agencies and cuts down on donor fatigue for the individuals and businesses who participate. Most importantly, the ones who benefit the most are the countless individuals who receive support from our partnering non-profits. It truly is a win-win for everyone involved.
What do you think the recipients of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas would say is the best thing about the organization?
It would have to be that it levels the playing field for each of the organizations by minimizing competition for donations. Let’s face it, there is a finite amount of resources in any area and the system implemented by the United Way ensures that those resources are spread in an equitable manner among every partner agency. It basically gives everyone a seat at the table.
What do you, personally, spend most of your time doing?
I try to maintain a healthy balance of work and play. For work, I am a partner in Express Employment Professionals and we have an office in both Pine Bluff and Stuttgart. Nearly all the play involves outdoor activities. My wife would say that I spend way too much time hunting and fishing but I quickly learned to turn my hobbies into family activities. Thankfully, my daughters love our trips to the farm. I’m still working on my wife but I think she’s coming around too.
What is your home life and family like?
I may be biased but I’m pretty sure that my wife Lauren and I have the two best daughters on the planet. Hallie is 7 and Ella is 4 and, between the two of them, there is rarely a dull moment in our home. We seem stay on the go but we manage to enjoy spending time together, regardless of the activity.
What was the most important lesson you have ever learned in your life?
That there are no guarantees. Enjoy the moment and don’t wish your life away.
What are your personal goals within the United Way of Southeast Arkansas?
To help lead a successful campaign that has a positive impact on our partner communities.
What will help you achieve them?
The team of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make a difference. There truly are some great people in this community who give selflessly of their time and resources. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to serve with them and am constantly amazed by the level of success that can be achieved when everyone is willing to work towards a common goal.
What words of advice do you have for anyone wanting to invest their time in the United Way of Southeast Arkansas, or volunteerism at all?
I firmly believe in the adage that “to whom much is given, much is required”. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to achieve success but there are many people who won’t have those same opportunities unless they receive help from an outside source. Whether it’s The United Way or one of the many other great organizations in our area, the possibilities to make an impact are endless. You must be willing to make the time and put out the effort. I would caution them that volunteerism can quickly become addictive as there are few things more rewarding than the feeling of helping others. I hope to instill this in my daughters at an early age so that they will understand the joy of serving others as well.