When asked why she volunteers, Annette didn’t hesitate, “Volunteering is just good for the soul.”
Annette DiZinno, Lead Workforce Connection Center Consultant at Goodwill, returns annually to United Way’s Job Seminar to help people hone their job seeking skills but more importantly, to support people who may be confused, frustrated, or scared to find a new job.
United Way’s Job Seminar connects skilled volunteers with local job seekers who are facing barriers to employment to take charge of their futures by equipping them with the skills and resources they need to land their next job or start a new career. Job seekers receive help from volunteers to develop and polish resumes, practice interviewing skills, and sharpen their networking conversations. Annette looks forward to this event, which she has participated in for over five years, because of her desire to see the progression and growth that attendees can expect to find.
While remaining humble herself, Annette encourages job seekers, especially women who are timid in listing their accomplishments, to B.R.A.G. She developed this acronym to remind women to “Be Ridiculously Awesome, Girls.” As she works through this exercise with job seekers, she can see their hesitation and stress turn into pride and relaxation.
“A job search is such an emotional roller coaster for most anyone,” she said. “I try to have a little bit of fun with it, or at least make it a little less stressful.”
The job seminar has changed with the times, first as a men’s job seminar and a women’s job seminar, and then virtually during the pandemic. During and after the pandemic, some job seekers faced barriers to employment based on their access to and knowledge of technology, or from other factors affecting their home life and family. But volunteers like Annette pivoted with the times and continued to help those in their search with the tools they needed, at a time when they most needed them. Her goal is not just to help someone find a job, but rather to help them grow a career.
Annette recalled a success story of a woman who faced multiple barriers to obtaining a good job. With so much stress on her shoulders, the woman was unable to pursue her interest in a career at that time and needed any type of job. Annette didn’t leave it there, though. She remained in contact with the woman and provided relevant information when she needed it. Together, they were able to weave a plan, and, seven months later, the woman was ready to pursue a career.
“It was just wonderful to go through that with her, that she wanted to do it,” Annette recalled. “She understood why, and we used different tools and conversations. And she wound up working in the field of education, which is really where she had always wanted to be but didn’t feel like she fit. She saw what was coming next, and then she worked towards it. That’s the best.”
In addition to volunteering at the job seminar, both Annette and Goodwill partner with United Way in other events, such as the recent 2023 Project Homeless Connect.
“We’re working together. It’s a really great way to collaborate and it’s about other people,” she said. “What’s great about United Way, and I hope to pass this on to others, is that energy and that enthusiasm is contagious. I’m fortunate that I’ve had this opportunity through work, and it’s implanted on my brain. When people ask me about volunteering, it’s like, ‘here’s the site. It’s all there.’ It’s really great. And everyone knows that.”
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is grateful to Annette for her continued support to our volunteer efforts and to Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin for their collaboration. We always love to see Annette help our community members and make them smile at our job seminars!
Annette and Goodwill remind us that to live better, we must Live United.
At top: Annette helps a job seeker at our 2023 Job Seminar; At right: Annette DiZinno; At left: Annette helps another a job seeker at our 2023 Job Seminar.
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