Q & A with our Operations Support Specialist

Renae began volunteering with TEAM in October of 2017, right after Hurricane Harvey hit our area.  At that time Renae had been retired for seven months and was looking for a way to engage with her community. She found a way to do that at TEAM.  Although Renae began working in our Resale warehouse, she quickly transitioned into a support role, helping out in every operational area of TEAM.  

We are lucky to have Renae on board at TEAM and hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, too. 

What or who led you to TEAM?  

Karen Guiles, who welcomed me to Klein UMC, introduced me to Becky and Randall Loving.  Becky invited me to join TEAM. I shared that I’m a disabled Veteran with a hearing loss so I wouldn’t be a good fit as a caseworker--she assured me there was a place for me anyway.

You volunteer role spans across TEAM - from the Assistance Ministry to the Resale Shop. Tell us how you spend your time at TEAM?

The majority of my time supports our benevolence ministry caseworkers. I scan and link images and documents into our client database and answer client questions when I can.  I’ve sorted incoming donations for the warehouse and created flyers and signage to assist their donor efforts. My resale store support ranges from creating/providing copies or print documents, customer assistance on the sales floor when needed, to helping count merchandise during our recent inventory.  I occasionally join food pantry folks to receive and sort their donations. I’m an alternate check writer--the last step in the financial assistance process for our clients. When I’m check writer, I’m also responsible for end of day bank deposits of incoming cash and checks. Finally, I manage our donor database, posting cash and check donations from community donors as they arrive--then getting appropriate ‘thank you’ acknowledgements back out. The donor database also captures and reports activities associated with fundraising events, and I’m currently creating a file for our In The Heart of Tomball fundraiser scheduled for March 22, 2019.

What is the best part of volunteering?

Volunteering helps me use many of my life lessons to help our Tomball neighbors!  I believe I’ve been blessed in this life in order to use what I’ve learned or received to help others.

What have you learned as a volunteer at TEAM?

I’m a native of Houston, but Tomball’s community is where I serve.  I’ve learned how different city/civic/community agencies and resources are organized and managed.    

You are a proud veteran, having served in the military for 30 years. Tell us about your career in the Air Force.  Has it helped you at TEAM, and if so, how?

Wow--I began as an accounting technician, pretty much the military version of an accounts payable clerk.  In three years I’d learned that job and trained two more airmen. I was at my second overseas base, in a budget technician position, finishing my undergrad work when a mentor put me on a track to long-term success.  My budget training led to program management responsibilities and opportunities to author documents for senior Air Force officials. I began developing training material and delivering a wide range of financial management courses. After 22 years I’d been promoted to the highest rank possible for an enlisted person, and Blessed with assignments in the US, Europe and the Pacific.  The Air Force values education and training; I was fortunate to complete two graduate programs via the GI Bill. In turn, I also trained over 300 military and civilian personnel across the Air Force. During my career I wrote executive summaries and award-winning personnel recommendations which were submitted to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. All my work supported the people and places dedicated to supporting our nation.   

The Air Force is an inclusive, disciplined, well-trained team that values its people-no matter where they started life.  Air Force people treat each other with dignity and respect, even on our bad days; and we carry that forward in life.  So even if I weren’t a woman of faith and a minority, I’m certain my military training would help me interact with TEAM’s staff and clients from a place of kindness and respect.    

What has been your biggest challenge of 2018?

Re-learning the importance of saying “No”.

What keeps you motivated to do this work?

Every client leaving here with some form of help and/or encouragement motivates me to keep going.    

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Early in my Air Force journey a mentor told me to ‘grow where you’re planted’.  I could go on and on about how those four words shaped my future….