Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Heck – Volunteer Coordination Committee

By Tiffany Chen, Eastern Michigan University 
IOA Volunteer Coordination Committee

The IOA has always been an organization driven by passionate volunteers. We as part of the Volunteer Coordination Committee, but also IOA, would like to recognize the efforts of our volunteers that keep everything running. It is through our collective efforts that our organization has been able to develop and grow to what it is right now and more importantly what it will become in the future.

This Spotlight Post is to not only recognize some of our fellow IOA members, but also to make a shout-out to their amazing team that helps consistently push research for our work as ombudsmen on edge and in the forefront.

We would like to introduce Julia Heck from the Volunteer Coordination Committee for recognition.


Julia Heck, Volunteer Coordination Committee

What is the Volunteer Coordination Committee?

The purpose of this committee is to:

  • Develop and oversee IOA’s volunteer pool in order to increase the number of volunteers active in the organization
  • Direct potential volunteers into opportunities for which they are interested and well suited
  • Work with committees and the board on succession planning for leadership positions
  • Communicate volunteer needs to the membership and coordinate initiatives for the recognition of volunteers.

- Volunteer Coordination Committee

About Julia

Julia is the Chair of the Volunteer Coordination (VCC) Committee where she helps support IOA’s efforts in becoming volunteers and what the volunteer needs are across the association.

In her regular work, she serves as the Associate Director at Eastern Michigan University’s Office of the Ombuds. Her office is a student serving office, where she and her team help students navigate the institution and understand policy processes.

Inspirations as a Volunteer 

“Through IOA I really enjoy the ability to network and connect with colleagues across all different aspects across the field. You are not only able to move the field forward in all kinds of different ways, you can also network with other ombuds. Being the only ombuds at Eastern - it is hard to come across other ombuds. This gives me the opportunity to reach out and talk with other individuals in the field on a regular basis.”

Some things she enjoys the most about her position as chair of the VCC is advancing IOA and the ombuds field in different and exciting ways. In particular, for the VCC, it is a great way to make sure other areas in the organization have the help they need to achieve their missions and goals by aligning volunteers who would fit well in terms of the project and committee needs and see where that value lies.

One of my biggest goals for IOA is to continue to find ways to increase people’s desire to get involved. As a volunteer-run-association, we are always at a place where we want to get more people engaged and volunteering, leading the organization and giving input. We want to make sure the IOA represents what people do in the field. The more involvement you have, the higher the opportunity for that involvement to be impactful. We are always trying to find ways to help address any concerns. We want member engagement to represent and reflect the voices we have across the organization. It also engages new and emerging ombuds with ombuds that have been working in the field for a long time – which also brings a variety of perspective in the conversations ombuds are having on how the IOA is moving the field forward.  

Advice to Prospect Volunteers

Take the leap. The exciting thing with volunteering for the IOA is that there are so many volunteer opportunities that you can find something that fits what you want with where you are right now in the IOA. We want the membership to be engaged and feel that they are contributing to the advancement of the IOA and the ombuds field. As a volunteer you have a really unique position to offer your voice in the organization and in the field so it can advance.

Our biggest goal is to try and increase volunteer engagement. IOA is always growing and evolving and in need of more volunteer engagement. To continue to advance this work, we need people, our members, who can engage in these conversations and contribute to the work that is beneficial for the IOA. Additionally, we continue to enhance our recognition efforts and find ways to show the value of the individuals who volunteer with our association and to give thanks to those individuals. Finally, we continue to think through how we can make volunteering and getting engaged easier and more effective. The VCC continues to explore important questions such as, how do we help streamline the process to becoming a volunteer? How do we make individuals who engage and join us as volunteer feel engaged and supported? How do we help those who become volunteers feel that their contributions as a volunteer matter and their engagement is looked for and wanted? How do we make becoming a volunteer something that is on the forefront for members?

Fun facts: What is your favorite way to relax and recharge?

There are two. I really like to be outside. If I can be outside and be in nature. Being in a space I can disconnect. I like to go hiking. Being out on water. Get away from the immediate connection – my phone and computer – especially now in this remote space. Being away is a way for me to disconnect and get fresh air.

Another thing I like to do is to bake. I really like being in the kitchen. Trying new recipes and making favorite desserts or treats. The precision of it and the process is very therapeutic. I really enjoy it and you get something you can enjoy eating after that!




Share this post:

Comments on "Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Heck – Volunteer Coordination Committee"

Comments 0-15 of 0

Please login to comment