Name: Erica Busta
Position: Volunteer & Auxiliary Coordinator
Organization: Essentia Health in Duluth
How long have you been a MAVA member?
I just joined last year, at the advice of a former manager (Phil Losacker at Memorial Blood Centers) who spoke really highly of MAVA. I just renewed for my second year!
Please describe your volunteer program:
Essentia Health is a large healthcare organization with volunteers spread around multiple sites. We have volunteers in roles around the organization from gift shops to assisting staff in patient care areas.
What led you to hire a new person for your team?
After a long hiatus due to COVID, our program is rebuilding and also attempting to help locations that have had staffing changes and no longer have a volunteer coordinator on site. We are also supporting volunteer coordinators across our organization and trying to standardize our procedures and make things run smoothly. We are still recruiting for a new volunteer coordinator and hoping to make it a full-time position.
What's one takeaway you had from the MAVA conference last week?
A common thread that I took from many of the talks was advocating for our department and trying to be less humble about our work and our importance to the organization. We have a really strong team now and good support from management and I feel that we can build a good platform for being more visible in our organization.
What's something unique about your organization?
I’ve never been part of such a large organization that’s such a big part of our community — we are literally building the tallest building in Duluth! Something that I’m trying to think about as we rebuild our volunteer program is making our program reach the same standard of performance as our hospital is striving for in the community. I’d like us to be a model for a strong volunteer program that provides great experiences for volunteers and really meaningful help for staff.
What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?
It’s so helpful to connect with other members to share ideas and experiences. I find everyone is really eager to help and support one another. Sometimes being part of a small team or being a team of one can be lonely and MAVA helps with that tremendously.
What's your favorite MAVA member benefit? Or How has MAVA impacted your work in your organization?
I really look forward to the networking opportunities and the training. These events have been really energizing and help me bring new ideas and questions to my team at work.
Do you have any advice for new MAVA members, or new leaders of volunteers?
Something I try to remind myself is not to reinvent the wheel, which I think a lot of leaders of volunteers end up doing, because each of our work situations is so unique. It’s really helpful for me to use examples from other organizations and talk to my leaders about how other organizations do things. It makes life easier for us, and I think elevates our profession in the eyes of people outside our field because it demonstrates that we do have a set of best practices to use as models.