A Volunteer’s Story: Claudia Ciolfi

We continue our celebration of the Association Volunteer (read more here) by talking with Claudia Ciolfi, Sr Communications Specialist at Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund (IWIF). Claudia first joined PRSA-MD, the Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 1999, and soon found a place where she could grow professionally and personally, all with the encouragement and support of her employer.

It is exciting and gratifying to help PRSA achieve its goal on the local level and their goal is advancing the profession and the professional. I’m honored to help do that at the local level.

Claudia’s foray into association volunteering began 3-4 years ago when her company’s VP encouraged her to become more involved with PRSA-MD as a part of her professional development plan. Claudia took those marching orders literally and dove right in by volunteering on the annual Chesapeake Conference planning committee. Working on the committee was a real eye-opening and valuable experience, thanks especially to conference committee chair George Johnson who credits with teaching her much about event planning—lessons she used in developing her own “professional bag of tricks.” Through all of this, she became more familiar with PRSA, realized she liked its mission, and jumped at the chance to join the board when asked shortly after. Claudia’s currently vice president.

Claudia credits her ability to juggle work and association volunteerism with the support of her employer. “Lucky for me, my organization IWIF really encourages employees to volunteer in both the community as well as for professional associations that support our industry or our individual professions; in my case communications.” Yes, IWIF is unique in this aspect. Many IWIF leaders serve on a local non-profits and professional boards throughout the state. All employees are challenged to develop their own professional skill set by through association volunteering.

 Claudia believes this open support is a win-win situation for both her and her company. “One of the reason, if not the main reason, IWIF promotes this throughout the organization is because they want their employees to utilize our skills, our vision, and our influence to help guide the organizations for which we volunteer. IWIF knows that by doing so, its employees will remain on the cutting edge of their professions and be able to navigate future trends for the company, as well as adapt to market changes.”

Like many association volunteers according to the Decision To Volunteer, Claudia doesn’t limit her volunteering to one group. She’s involved with The American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds conference planning and communications projects. She has a hand an insuring volunteering is front and center at IWIF by highlighting volunteering in their the community services brochure for the stakeholders and in the employee newsletter.

PRSA-MD remains Claudia’s key professional association, an association she recommends to any professional communicator. “There are so many benefits, so many wonderful contacts to be made, and everyone I have met or worked with on the board has been so supportive, professional and friendly.”

Another win-win situation for Claudia and PRSA-MD.

Have a story to share? Tell us. And connect with us on our Association Volunteers! Facebook page.