2015 PR People Awards: Community Relations Professional of the Year

Winner: Gina West, Manager, Community Investment & Engagement at Fannie Mae

As the manager of Fannie Mae’s Community Investment & Engagement team, Gina West leads the company’s SERVE (Serving, Engaged and Ready to Volunteer Employees) initiative, which aims to engage the 7,000+ person strong workforce in volunteer giving and activities.

During the entry period, West has proven to be a strategic business leader, team player, and leader internally and externally. She has significantly grown the 7 Days to SERVE and Get on Board programs, resulting in increased engagement. She has partnered throughout the organization to align efforts and reach goals. Her work is outstanding and a driver to Fannie Mae’s success. Ultimately, her efforts have helped the company support the communities where its employees live and work.

In 2013, West designed and deployed “7 Days to SERVE,” a nationwide week of community service focused on engaging employees to address housing-related needs. It was created to continue the company’s civic commitment and drive employee volunteerism after Fannie Mae was required to eliminate grant making and restrict large service events due to conservatorship.

In the first year, 18% of employees participated. In 2015, 40% of employees participated. Employee participation has more than doubled as nearly 3,000 employees volunteered 11,388 hours of assistance, which is the equivalent of six years of service to a community partner.

Under West’s guidance, 7 Days to SERVE has become a key driver in both internal and external engagement. She ensured alignment with overall strategic communications objectives. Employee satisfaction is high, with employees affirming their desire for continued or increased volunteerism opportunities. Community partners are engaged and seek additional opportunities with the company.

Honorable Mention:

·           Brian Graves, Sr., Community Unit School District 308