IGS Energy Team Member Jena Albers Supports Animals in Need
When asked to share her “why” – the reason for dedicating so much of her time to her community – Jena Albers, a member of IGS Energy's IT team, reflected on one of our core values: Do the right thing.
"I'm a big believer that every individual has the power to create positive change – that each of us can make a singular difference in our world," Albers said. "Just doing my part might create a ripple effect.
For the last four years, Jena – who joined IGS two years ago and works as an IT business analyst – has spent much of her time outside work volunteering at the CHA animal shelter in Westerville, Ohio.
As the first spotlight in a new series highlighting how our employees give back in the communities in which they live and work, Jena answered our questions around what inspired her to volunteer, why she chose CHA and what advice she has for those who want to get more involved in their own community.
How did you start working with animal shelters?
When I was in college (at Ohio University), I got involved with Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs, a student-run organization that supported Athens County animal shelters by helping out around the shelters and fundraising. Fundraising for the shelters made it clear to me just how much difference one person can make.
By my senior year, I was the president of the organization, and it was then that I learned just how important our education and awareness efforts could be. One of our member's parents was so inspired by our work that she made the decision to adopt a pet for the first time – I felt like we were successfully passing the torch to a new group of people to give back to the cause.
How did you choose CHA animal shelter?
When I moved to Columbus after college, I was looking for a similar opportunity to give back. CHA is a nonprofit dog and cat shelter that differs from other local shelters in that it's supported not by taxpayers, but instead almost entirely by donations from the public. And, it's almost entirely volunteer-run, in addition to a small core staff.
The thing I love most about CHA is that, as far as caring for the animals goes, the work falls mostly to the volunteers – from feeding and walking the animals to medical care and handling adoptions. (The shelter has more than 400 volunteers.)
We're empowered to get involved in so many ways – and the hands-on work means you see the impact you're making in real time.
What inspires you to give back?
Well, first and foremost, I don't subscribe to the sentiment that the world is burning and there's nothing that can be done. I think it's important we all play the part we can to create good in the world.
As far as the animal shelter specifically, I'm really passionate about adoption and rescuing animals. The animals in the shelter are already here on the planet – and they're waiting for homes today. Anything you can do to help is important – whether it's volunteering your time, sharing posts on social media, fundraising or adopting outright.
While dog breeders can offer specific things to pet owners, perfection isn't promised. And what's most important is the connection you have with the animal. My 13-pound chihuahua mix Daisy wasn't necessarily the dog I thought I'd end up with – but she's the perfect dog for me.
How has IGS Energy supported your volunteer work?
For each hour I volunteer, I receive a $10 donation to the organization I'm volunteering with – until I reach the donation maximum. So, for each of my shifts, the shelter gets a $30 boost. This donation is thanks to a program called Dollars for Doers. I'm on track to reach a $500 donation for the shelter this year!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to volunteer – but isn't sure where to start?
Be open to new opportunities always.
Think about the causes you might want to support – and then think about your skillset and what you can offer. If you're skills lie in sales and marketing, maybe you can plan an event for an organization. If you're an accountant, you might be able to help a nonprofit manage their financials. If you're handy, the shelter is always looking for people to help re-gravel the paths and play yards!
There are many ways you can help an organization that won't require you have to have a set schedule. Just think creatively.
To learn more about our people and our values, explore life at IGS Energy.