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Why Community Service Matters Now More than Ever

Why Community Service Matters Now More Than Ever

By Lisa Locklear
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Avanir Pharmaceuticals
Guest Blog Author

When I started my first professional job, as an auditor at Price Waterhouse (now PwC), I noticed there was an option to donate a portion of my paycheck to the Orange County United Way. Honestly, I had never heard of the United Way, so I asked my colleagues for any insights they might have about the mission of this local nonprofit.

After learning more about United Way’s work to improve the lives of Orange County residents, and understanding that my contributions would be put to work in my local community to help those most in need, there was no question that this was an organization that I would choose to support.

The Importance of Volunteerism and Community Service

I have always found it rewarding to volunteer and donate to community-driven organizations. Volunteering my time to Orange County United Way and its initiatives has allowed me to connect with diverse members of the community in a positive way and familiarize myself with the real needs of my neighbors.

Through the years, volunteering has given me a broader perspective about the circumstances that fellow members of my community face. Those insights have allowed me to gain and grow my communication skills and resiliency.

I’ve also gained a unique perspective on what it takes to truly be a better leader, which is something I’ve taken back to all of my professional roles – including now as Chief Financial Officer for Avanir Pharmaceuticals, which is headquartered in Orange County.

The Value of a Connected Team

At Avanir, I also work to empower members of my team to become leaders at all levels, including in their own communities. My goal is to role model volunteerism, and ensure that my team feels encouraged to support the community.

I am also passionate about identifying community service opportunities that make a difference. For example, our Avanir Finance team had the privilege to serve at the Second Harvest Food Bank. We sorted donated food, and it was a wonderful team effort.

During the changes brought about by COVID-19, our teams have stayed connected, including through video-based fun activities. During some of those activities, team members asked me about how they could support the United Way Pandemic Relief Fund.

The fact that they asked how they could make a difference to those who need it most touched me deeply.

That’s why I decided to write this article – because no matter where we live or what we do professionally, we can be of help, especially during the global pandemic that is impacting us all.

One of the ways that Avanir jumped in to help was through the United Way Pandemic Fund, which supports low-income individuals and families at imminent risk of homelessness, the population currently experiencing homelessness, low-income students, and partner nonprofits. Avanir held an internal campaign to help raise money several months ago, and during a short time, as a team, we raised more than $44,000 to donate directly to the fund.

What’s Next?

Since learning about Orange County United Way more than 30 years ago, my commitment and passion to care for our community has grown in many ways. First, I served as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair from 2010 to 2016. In 2020, I rejoined the Board of Directors.

Second, and this may be most important, I became emotionally attached to the mission of the Orange County United Way – just as I am attached to the mission of Avanir. Both organizations are passionately committed to alleviating the burdens placed on their communities.

Lisa Locklear joined Avanir Pharmaceuticals in September 2018 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. She brings extensive operational and strategic finance leadership to oversee the financial operations of Avanir, including controllership and accounting, financial planning and reporting, procurement/strategic sourcing and contracts and pricing.

Learn more about Avanir Pharmaceuticals: www.avanir.com

Learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility

Learn more about United Way’s Pandemic Relief Fund

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