Name: Bob Figlock
Position: Volunteer Engagement Manager
Organization: The Marine Mammal Center
MAVA Member Since: 2018
Please describe your volunteer program:
At The Marine Mammal Center, more than 1,300 high-commitment volunteers work alongside about 100 staff members, participating in all facets of our work up and down more than 600 miles of the California coast and on the Big Island of Hawai’i. They respond to calls from the public about distressed animals, rescue those animals when appropriate, work in large crews to provide rehabilitative care, and engage the public who visit our facilities and in the field. Volunteers with specialized experience also provide key administrative support and program management. In a normal (non-COVID) year, we receive more than 150,000 hours of volunteer labor! The four-person-strong Volunteer Engagement Team works with program managers to provide training, guidance, compliance, administration, appreciation and coaching to this huge, incredible group of highly motivated people.
What is your role?
I manage the Volunteer Engagement Team that supports all of our volunteers, and partner with program staff and senior volunteers who manage other volunteers to resolve issues that affect our volunteer corps wherever they may arise.
How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?
I extended my service in Peace Corps Mongolia by a third year to support and lead other Peace Corps Volunteers doing important education, healthcare, economic development and youth development work.
What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?
MAVA is quite simply the resource to which I turn to grow and be inspired within my professional field. It can be hard to make time to professionally grow in this line of work as there’s always something else to do, but MAVA puts coaching and guidance where I can reasonably access it.
Can you recall a time when being a MAVA member directly impacted your work in your organization? What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact?
I’m always flabbergasted at how quickly I turn around and use conflict resolution tools that I learn at the MAVA conference each year. Particularly when coaching staff or volunteers who manage other volunteers, I find the mnemonics, encouragement and resources to be tremendously helpful in portraying conflict management as something around which we can grow our skills and set emotional boundaries.
Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?
Go to the conferences and talks, especially the ones centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion! It’s incredibly empowering to see the work that other organizations are doing in this space, and this is a field in which it is virtuous for us to copy one another’s homework!