Adapt to Innovate: How Volunteering Shapes My Life and Career

March 2017

As a young girl, I never realized my career path would lead to volunteer management in a hospital — but I’m so glad that it did. Volunteerism has been a common thread that has linked my past to my present. From a young age, I learned the importance of giving my time and resources to others, and earned the international baccalaureate diploma from Lamar High School, which required 150 hours of community service. This continued into my collegiate years and took many forms, including my sorority’s philanthropy, and became second nature.

As Manager of Volunteer Services at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, I oversee an average of 350 truly incredible volunteers a year, who are all from different walks of life. We see teenagers, young professionals and even those who just retired who are looking to give back to their community. My daily tasks include recruiting, building programs and keeping up with the ever-changing day-to-day needs of the volunteers who assist the staff and patients at the hospital. I have found a career that is a passion, and I have never had one boring day — seriously, never! There is always a new challenge, and, most importantly, I have a wonderful group of colleagues with whom I am honored to work.

Connecting with people in ways I never thought possible has been the best part of my work. For example, a mother of one of our patients signed up a few months after her son passed. This particular volunteer decided to channel her grief into helping others, and now she spends one day a week visiting patients, providing that same care and happiness that volunteers brought her own son. She is always ready to bring a smile to our patients’ faces and brighten their day with cheerful conversation and maternal concern. This is how she pays tribute to her son. My job is to connect wonderful people like her to our patients, many of whom are depressed, financially stressed and in physical pain.

One of the most important aspects of serving in a volunteer role is that it constantly evolves to meet the needs of others. If our roles do not adapt to innovate, they will become less effective and less successful. As a volunteer manager, both for the hospital and for the Junior League of Houston, cultural competency is a huge factor in my relationship with the volunteers I serve. It helps me become a more responsive and helpful manager, and it’s something I must model and teach them as they volunteer in situations that may be unfamiliar with people who may be different from themselves.

Through both a professional and personal viewpoint, I know and stand behind the positive effects community service can have on those in need. I see the tangible benefits of others’ service every single day — the time our volunteers contribute, as well as the in-kind donations, make our patients’ lives better in very real ways. I feel compelled to share what time and energy I have in support of wonderful causes. Not just in my job, but in my personal life serving at the Junior League, I have been thankful to have the opportunity to fulfill that desire and serve the Houston community.


About the author: Courtney Hoyt is the Manager of Volunteer Services at Ben Taub Hospital and served as the Holocaust Museum Houston’s Chairman from 2013 to 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin. Hoyt has been a member of the Junior League since 2010 and currently serves on the board of directors for the Junior League of Houston. Beginning in June 2017, Hoyt will serve as the Community Vice President for the Junior League.

Source: March, 17, 2017, Shale Magazine, by Courtney Hoyt