Community involvement has always been important to Erica G. Starrfield, marketing manager at Nestle.
Starting her journey as a teenager in BBYO, Starrfield felt a connection to the greater Jewish community and knew she had to be involved in it.
“It gave me so much,” she said. “It shaped my sense of self. I learned how to public speak and to have confidence in myself as a leader. I built lifelong friendships.”
Those lessons inspired Starrfield to continue her community involvement into her adult life, namely at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. At the Federation, she is a member of the board of directors and is the immediate past chair of the marketing and communications committee. She now serves as the engagement and outreach chair for women’s philanthropy, as a coaching circle mentor, and as a member of the human resources development and nominating committees. But it didn’t immediately start there.
“When I went to college and was a young professional, I didn’t do as much but I got pretty involved about seven or eight years ago,” she noted. “Why I got involved and what I’m involved in today has to do with finding ways to participate that build on my skill set as a brand marketer. There was a need for what I do professionally so I jumped back in to community involvement, and was quickly reminded how much I love it.”
The opportunity to use those skills within community involvement pushed Starrfield professionally and personally.
“No matter how much I give, it gives me so much more,” she added. “In much of the same ways it did when I was younger, it’s helped me build community and deep relationships, to continue to learn, grow and step outside of my comfort zones.”
Starrfield noted community involvement has changed her for the better.
“It has given me opportunities to try new things,” she said. “I’ve found the nonprofit environment to be open to different ideas, to be a little bit bold and willing to take risks. So, I get to practice being a little braver and putting forward new ideas.”
Starrfield wants to see the Jewish community continue to thrive.
“Seeing the Jewish community of Cleveland thrive is something for which I have tremendous passion,” she noted. “It is the community that welcomed my grandparents and great-grandparents during World War II, the community which nurtured me into a confident young adult, and the community in which I am proud to raise my children. I want to see the Jewish community of Cleveland continue to prosper so that it can remain the place that brings the support and enjoyment we have come to know it for.”
For her, volunteerism and community involvement is a lifelong commitment.
“I don’t ever see a day where I don’t have this in my life,” she stated. “It’s a core part of life as I think about the pieces of my life. Being involved in the community is something I will always do, but the way I contribute will likely evolve over time.”
– Becky Raspe