Celeste Johnson embodies a spirit of equity and opportunity for all through her dedication to engaging community partners with the work of Heartland Alliance. Bringing expertise from her time on Capitol Hill, Celeste challenges people to work together to support our participants – especially around the holidays.
How did you get into this work?
I moved to Washington, D.C. and interned in the U.S. House of Representatives after receiving my undergrad degree. My favorite part of the internship was helping the constituents in my congressperson’s home district and listening in on the lobbyists and activists who would meet with him. Through this experience, I decided a place where I could both assist people in need and work in an area I’m passionate about was the nonprofit sector. I’ve worked in several areas of nonprofits including development, event planning, project management, and e-commerce. My favorite area by far is where I am now, engagement.
Why is this work important to the community and those we serve?
In my role my responsibilities include, but are not limited to, coordinating in-kind donation drives, group volunteering activities, and being the liaison to the Heartland Alliance Associate Board. All of these pieces of my work can be summed up into “building advocates and champions of our mission.” This mission-driven work is extremely important to any nonprofit, especially Heartland Alliance. Our champions put in hours of volunteer work, give donations throughout the year, and spread the word about importance of the amazing work we are doing together.
Was there a moment where you knew you were in the right job?
My first in-kind campaign at Heartland Alliance was for one of our youth programs in 2017. I was two weeks into my job and immediately enjoyed the liveliness of my position and how it took me to different areas of Chicago. I also learned how to drive a U-Haul…very quickly! The outpouring of generosity and kindness from the community was also extremely refreshing to see during this time.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I learn something significant and new every day. There are so many great people who work or volunteer for Heartland Alliance and have many different perspectives and ways of thinking. It’s also great to hear from the people we serve when I have the opportunity through my work.
How can others get involved in your work?
We have many different ways to get involved, from joining a board to volunteering or being part of a donation drive. How one can get involved is based on one’s availability and areas of interest. A simple way is to ask questions, learn more about the people we serve, and to advocate for and with them.