By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

Here’s how Michelle Sears, a Haley Marketing Social Media Marketing Advisor, gives back when she’s not giving her all to our clients:

HIT: Community Service (a lot of it!)

  • Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (7 years)
  • Fundraising Committee for BBBS of Erie County (3 years)
  • Chapter Advisor for Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority at University at Buffalo (7 years)
  • Buffalo Zoological Gardens ProZoo Board (Beginning April 2016)

I’ve been involved in community service since high school and have always enjoyed giving back. As soon as I felt I had the time and resources after grad school, I jumped into BBBS and was matched with my little sister, Paige. (The picture above is of Paige and I going to her first concert: Selena Gomez. She’s so much taller than me, most people refer to us as friends. She always replies, “We’re sisters.”)

As for Delta Phi Epsilon, I was very involved with the sorority while I was an undergrad, holding just about every role within the chapter, including president. When DPhiE wanted to start a chapter at UB, they asked for my help and I was happy to take on the project… and I’m still there 🙂

What do I love most about community service?

BBBS: I enjoy spending time with my little sister and watching her evolve into a very thoughtful teenager. We’ve been matched since she was 6, and we’ve gone to concerts together, taken horseback riding lessons, conquered amusement parks, and visited my college. It’s been a lot of fun.

DPhiE: There’s a negative stigma about women in sororities, so I love watching the chapter grow and helping members become leaders. It’s so rewarding to watch sisters graduate, find great jobs out of college, and effectively squash the “sorority girl” stereotype. Also, being in a sorority was an important part of my college experience. I made my best friends there, grew as a person, and wanted to give back so others could have similar experiences.

I write several recommendations a year for the women at UB. I enjoy helping them get internships, study abroad or even land their first job post-college. As for Paige, who’s only 13 right now, I’m hoping she can survive high school. She has very few adults to rely on, and I’m happy I’m one of them. My goal is for her to go to college – that would be the ultimate win for me.

The littlest things can be the most rewarding…

When I’m serving others, the simplest conversation can be an absolute gift. For example, when Paige was 7, just to be silly, I said, “I wish unicorns were real.” She answered back with total sincerity, “Well, I wish stars were real. Some things just aren’t.”

It was the cutest, most innocent, little-kid thing to say. I loved it, and I’ll never forget it. I’ll also never forget the fact that she didn’t believe me when I tried to explain why stars were real. 🙂

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