Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Staff: Alison Cassorla, Philanthropic Information Systems Manager

What is your role at Shalom Austin?

I am the database administrator for the Federation branch of Shalom Austin. I started my employment at the Welcome Desk in August of 2000. In 2001, I moved into a part-time campaign assistant type job, entering pledges, payments, writing thank you letters, etc. As the fundraising for our organization grew, so did my hours and job responsibilities.

Tell me about your background…

I graduated from the University of Georgia, with a BA in management. I have always been a very organized person. When I moved into the Federation job in 2001, I found I fit in this position very well.

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?

I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I am respected for doing a good job for the donors in our community.

Because of my personality type, I always want to make sure whatever I do, I do it 100% correctly. And that desire carries over into my daily work in the database.

What’s your favorite part of working at Shalom Austin?

I really enjoy the people; my co-workers and the people I have met through all types of Shalom Austin events. My favorite part of my actual work at Shalom Austin is working in the database. I enjoy keeping the data as correct as possible.

Do you have any exciting projects or programs in the works?

I have started doing more of a database manager position, where I will be able to help all of the Shalom Austin staff with their data knowledge, not just the philanthropy department. We currently have data coming into Shalom Austin from many different resources, I am working on ways to get all of that data into our database as quickly as possible. I also provide Prospect Research support to the fundraisers. I would like to have more time to concentrate on that aspect of data collection.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?

I would say contact somebody. Come over here and see our property. Figure out what your interests are and if there is a group that we have that works with your interest. And if there’s an interest you have and we don’t have anything that works towards that interest, see if you can get in touch with a staff person and maybe fi­gure out a way to get something like that going. For example, when I got out of college, I moved back home to Columbia, South Carolina. Our JCC was very small and did not have a Young Adult Division. My friend and I started a Young Adult group that had social hours and other types of get togethers. When people would contact the JCC and asked for that type of programming the JCC staff would give them my number.

Shalom Austin Volunteer: Lauren Patten

What is your role at Shalom Austin?

I would say I’m most involved in the ECP and helping volunteer in the classroom, at the school, and this will be my second year chairing the ECP’s fundraiser called Family Fun Day, which raises funds for the school and all of the parents and kids have a good time. I would say that’s my primary focus but I do take advantage of everything Shalom Austin has to offer and I’m always at the gym and my kids love the camps so we just try to stay involved and on campus a lot.

Tell me a little bit about your background…

I grew up in Dallas and I went to college here in the ‘90s. When I graduated, I moved back to Dallas and then I moved to New York City and then I met my husband Chris who is from the northeast. And once I got pregnant we realized we might not want to raise children in New York City where it’s expensive and hard to get around and he was very open to moving back to Austin which I’m very happy he was on board with that. We came for ACL one weekend and then that was an easy sell. He was ready to come. We moved here in 2010 and I was 8 and a half months. Sammy was born here and we love the community and we love living here. We’ve met a lot of friends. It’s great.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?

I would say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My mother, Susan Levy in Dallas and her mother, my grandmother, Bernice Polins, let her rest in peace, they were very involved in their respective temples, and in Hadassah, and with Federation, and they taught me at an early age that it’s important to give back and be involved. I am trying to stay involved to show my children as well.

Why is volunteering important to you?

I think that as women we feel a lot of pressure to be good mothers and good wives and good friends and be good at our jobs and just take care of everybody else and we don’t always take care of ourselves or do things for ourselves or do things for others. As little time as you have for yourself, it makes me feel really good to do things for other people. Not everybody can do it, and we as moms don’t pressure anybody to do it, you do what you can and even the littlest bit makes you feel really good.

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?

Family Fun Day was created by Caryn Abraham. It was a needed event. Every other school had a fundraiser and the ECP didn’t. Chairing it last year and seeing so many families participate and be involved and to see how much money we raised — it was one of the most successful years they had ever had — it just makes me feel good to know our contribution is helping the school grow and be better for future generations.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?

This community is very welcoming. They have welcomed me and I’ve made so many friends by reaching out to new people who didn’t know anybody or had small children. Get involved, even in the smallest way. It’s hard as a mom to do everything and no one expects you to do everything, but if you get involved in the smallest thing, you’ll meet new people and you’ll realize how welcoming and great our community is.

Generations Campaign Donors at Appreciation Events Hoping to Inspire Others

Generations Campaign Donors at Appreciation Events Hoping to Inspire Others

Congregation Agudas Achim Commissions First Torah in Texas Written By a Female Scribe

Congregation Agudas Achim Commissions First Torah in Texas Written By a Female Scribe