LaDonna wasn’t expecting to receive an award at the Employee
Connectivity Retreat this year. Her face in tears as she was accepting this
award says it all. “It felt good to know the people I work with really
appreciate me,” Ladonna said while smiling. “As a manager, I want to help
people grow and to see my team sees this is a reward enough.”
LaDonna will be retiring at the end of this year and she is
reflecting on the time that she has had with Goodwill. “When I came to Goodwill
I knew nobody but as time went on I got to know names and I give people hugs
now. I tell my co-workers they are family. I spend more time with them then I
do my own husband,” LaDonna said while laughing. Goodwill has been a special
place for LaDonna because she has learned leadership skills that have inspired
her employees. “The one thing I can’t express enough is Goodwill giving me this
chance. When I first started I was unsure of myself and Tami kept encouraging
me saying, ‘You can do it’. If it wasn’t for Goodwill giving me a chance I
wouldn’t have been able to experience what I do now,” LaDonna stated with
The plans that LaDonna has after she retires from Goodwill
is to travel and spend time with family. LaDonna states with excitement, “It’s
important for me to spend time with my family. I have a daughter in California
and 2 brothers in Arizona. I want to spend as much time as I can with them.”
Some of the places that LaDonna wants to travel to is Niagara Falls and the
Redwood Forrest. LaDonna is excited about the next chapter in her life and we
wish her all the best for the future.
Three years ago Amanda was in a dark, lonely place in her life. She was struggling to barely live paycheck to paycheck. Working 2-3 jobs making minimum wage while battling depression and anxiety which caused her doubt herself and who she was. Amanda knew that a change was not only needed but necessary. “I wanted to provide for my daughter. I needed something better,” Amanda said. “I needed stability.”
Manager, at the Fort Dodge encouraged Amanda to apply for an open position when
she was visiting the store on a shopping trip. Amanda had hesitations about
working at Goodwill because of the fast-paced environment of the backroom. She
really didn’t know if she could handle it. Despite these hesitations, Amanda
took a chance, applied for the job and was hired. “When I first started I was
really quiet,” she said. “It was rough my first year.”
What Amanda didn’t realize was that Loree would be the friend and mentor that she needed at this point in her life. “Loree sets the tone here. You can go to Loree about anything. No matter what’s on her mind, she makes time for you,” Amanda stated with assurance. To Amanda, Loree is the mentor that is not afraid of challenging you to help you see the potential in yourself. “She genuinely cares about each and every one of her employees.”
Amanda has made significant progress since she has been with Goodwill which includes being promoted to Team Lead. Amanda admits she is starting to figure out who she is but is not as stressed out as she was three years ago, and her mental health is in a better place. “Looking back on it now. I have been through a lot. I had to work several jobs where I hardly saw my daughter and struggled with mental health, but I am working on it and I believe everything will come together.”
A family is a safe place where people love you unconditionally and are there for you in the hard times that life has to offer. Deb found this family with Goodwill. In 2017, Deb had 4 deaths within 4 months in her immediate family. This was a difficult time her and she went through a time of depression. Deb said what got her through the depression was her Goodwill family. After a moment of reflection and gratefulness she said, “I looked forward to coming into work because I knew I was home. I was with family”. Deb had tears in her eyes and a smile on her face when she said, “These guys were amazing. Goodwill is a family. The store managers, regional managers, all the way up to the Vilay (Chief Operating Officer) are amazing. You couldn’t ask to be treated any better.”
Deb is proud to work with Goodwill and she appreciates the work that Goodwill does in our job training programs for individuals with barriers. Deb stated with pride and thought, “The help we give our participants is amazing. They get a chance to get back into the workforce without worrying if they are going to be able to do this. Goodwill gives them a chance to prove themselves that they can do this, and nothing is beyond what you dreamed you could do. You just have to believe in yourself and I think that Goodwill makes people feel this way.”
Deb personally understands the work that Goodwill does is important and makes an impact on people. She has an autistic grandson and realizes that individuals with disabilities can get into the workforce and be successful, Deb said with optimism, “I hope that he ends up with Goodwill. At Goodwill they will be able to give him the opportunity, teaching, and the learning he would need. Goodwill has opened my eyes even more than my grandson did to how capable these people are.”
For Deb, family is important for her and she recognizes that Goodwill is home and that her Goodwill family will always be there for her no matter what. She knows that they will be here for her in the good and bad times because that is what family does for each other.
Natty came to the United States from Peru for a better life. Her mother and father died when she was young, and she needed a place where she could explore new, brighter opportunities. For about 2 years, Natty worked at the Arizona Goodwill and she transferred over to the Fort Dodge Goodwill because her cousin lived there, and family is important for Natty and is a foremost priority in her life.
One of the goals that Natty has is to speak English fluently. Natty has been working hard on her English by taking classes at the college and is making excellent progress so far.
Natty has enjoyed her time with Goodwill for the last 6 years. She formed a close relationship with her hiring manager and appreciates all the help with the training process. “She understood me and helped me. I want to thank her for her patience. I want to thank her for everything,” says Natty with tears in her eyes.
Natty is thankful for Goodwill and other team members that are willing to help, not because they have to, but because they want to. This is what makes Goodwill great. People are willing to go out of their way to help people. Natty is one of those people that is friendly to customers and is willing to go above and beyond because she believes in Goodwill. Natty has a heart of gold and has a special place in our hearts now at Goodwill.
If you walk into the Spencer Goodwill you will find La Donna talking and laughing alongside her crew. La Donna is currently the Store Manager and has been there for 6 years. La Donna states, “I like to see everyone happy, talking and helping each other out.” For a majority of her life La Donna spent traveling with her husband who was in the Army. La Donna said, “I worked for the Military Exchange for about 20 years.” After her husband’s Army time was completed they both moved to Spencer. La Donna started out as a Cashier at Goodwill, however, Tami who was their regional manager at the time, encouraged her to be an Assistant Manager. “Goodwill helped me see my potential,” La Donna stated proudly. One of the reasons that La Donna loves her store so much is that her crew takes care of her. “I had knee surgery about 4 years ago and they always are helpful and will ask if they can lift a box for me,” La Donna states. La Donna believes that Goodwill is a blessing to community and that they do so many good things with their employees and programs.