In 1980, Phil began a career with Farmers Insurance that would span nearly 40 years. As an executive with the company, Phil had years of leadership under his belt and an underlying passion for helping people. After retiring four years ago, he found himself wondering what he could do to help fulfill his passion in a new capacity.

In search of volunteer opportunities that would give him a hands-on approach to helping others, Phil came across Chrysalis online. Highly rated by others, Phil decided to fill out an application to become a volunteer.

The process was swift. Within two days of applying, he had his volunteer interview and within three weeks, he was training as a volunteer. Before one month had passed, he was helping clients make strides in their job searches by conducting practice interviews and assisting them with their resumes.

His weekly volunteering allowed him to step back into a role of mentorship he had missed, which allowed him to really enjoy this new phase of his retirement. Ultimately, it was his ability to connect with others that made him feel at home as a volunteer at Chrysalis. Of his decades-long career, Phil shares: “I liked the interaction with people. When I worked, the part I loved the most was interacting with employees and helping develop them. One of the main roles of management was to develop people within your organization.”

When Phil sits down with a client or picks up the phone for a virtual session, he begins to impart what he has taken from developing his employees over the years. He shares that a resume and interview are telling a story and he helps them hone in on the best attributes to include. “Everyone has the necessary parts,” says Phil, “it is just a matter of putting the storyline together.”

At many points during his career and in his years as a volunteer, Phil has learned that life experience can sometimes hold just as much value as work experience. He recalled an instance when a client felt they had little to offer, as they hadn’t worked a steady job prior to coming to Chrysalis. In talking with her, he learned that she played a key role in the performing arts program at her school, both as a director and producer. He could see all of the skills and experience she had to offer as she recalled what she did in those roles. In the end, he was able to help her tell the story of a highly qualified applicant with demonstrated organizational and leadership abilities on her resume. “Working with her was one of the highlights of everything I’ve done,” says Phil.

Getting to see the clients that he worked with and hearing updates from them on their accomplishments in person is one aspect Phil misses from volunteering before the pandemic. But he is grateful that he is able to continue to work with Chrysalis clients remotely. One of the takeaways he has realized since becoming a volunteer is just how difficult the process can be for some to get a job, especially in the current pandemic climate. Filling out an application can be daunting in and of itself, especially for those who don’t feel they have a lot of work experience or access to the technology needed to create a resume or participate in a virtual interview. It is rarely an easy journey for anyone, but Phil is happy to be at Chrysalis where he can interact with and inspire clients on their job search to tell their stories and present their best selves.

The Volunteer & Program team is currently recruiting volunteers to support clients virtually. Spanish-speaking volunteers are urgently needed! Please click here to learn more.