In honor of President’s Day this month, we’d like to feature our own President and CEO, Lois Buntz.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?
On a professional level, I have been involved in the nonprofit sector for 30 years. I have also taught Social Work at the University of Iowa and Clarke College.
My husband Bob and I love to travel and try to go as much as possible. We love to visit foreign countries and experience different cultures. We are bicyclists and vacation regularly in Door County, Wisconsin and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I also enjoy cooking, reading, wine tasting, and dabble in photography, writing, and gardening.
What’s something unique that people don’t know about you?
I took guitar lessons for five years as an adolescent and gave up playing many years ago. This year, I'm buying a guitar and beginning to play again.
How long have you been involved with United Way?
I've worked at United Way for 12 years as CEO and served nine years as the Executive Director of a partner agency. I was the agency rep on United Way's Board of Directors for one year and served on several impact committees.
Outside of United Way, how are you involved in the community?
Currently, I serve on the Steering Committee for the Economic Alliance Regional Visioning Project [for a look at this project, take their recent survey]. I serve on the Economic Alliance Community Development Committee, and I’m active in Rotary and my church. In the past, I have served on numerous nonprofit boards and community committees.
What's some of the best parenting and/or leadership advice you've received?
Ask for help along the way. As leaders, we sometimes think we have to do everything ourselves, and it's hard to ask for assistance. As parents, we fall into the same trap, and women especially try to be supermoms.
Secondly, we should talk less and listen more. We can learn so much by stopping and truly giving others the time and space to express their ideas. It’s really about valuing others and is a practice that helps build genuine and long-lasting relationships. This seems to work well at home and at the office. And at the end of the day, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is a beautiful quote by Maya Angelou and a philosophy I try to remember.