FORBES | COUNCILS – Ask an Executive: How Can an Executive Invest in Their Community?

by   | FORBES COUNCIL

Readers are invited to submit a question which we will then pose to one of our Forbes Councils members. This group is full of knowledge and experience — we’re eager to share their insights with you.

Question: How Can an Executive Invest in Their Community?

Running a successful business is time-consuming and sometimes energy-depleting, but I’d like to find a way to give back to my community if I can. How can I find the best way to contribute?

Meet our Executive: Olga Camargo, CEO and Founder, FARO Associates

Olga Camargo of Forbes Chicago Business Council is CEO and founder of FARO Associates, an independent woman-owned business and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), a specialist in operations consulting, risk management and advisory services headquartered in Chicago. Olga has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is part of New America Alliance’s American Latina Leadership Caucus, comprised of the 100 most influential Latinas across sectors in the United States.

Answer: Choose a Cause With Which You Identify

I run a financial business, working hard every day like ALL business owners. Between that, taking care of clients, networking, family, our son’s school activities, etc., it can seem next to impossible to do anything else. 

In spite of this, I managed to get involved with a handful of Chicago nonprofits that I quickly connected with at my core and now I’m a volunteer board member and help them fundraise.

As you think about how you’d like to give back when you choose a nonprofit to support, reflect on your own journey, the challenges that you faced, people that made it possible, and the impact that you are now in a position to make. Equally important, is the nonprofit’s mission. In essence, you need be in alignment with the nonprofit to be an impactful philanthropist.

I think of my family’s own journey in getting ahead and the people that gave us a hand along the way, which led us to become a family of entrepreneurs. My family was not only thankful but learned early on to pay it forward.

I began my philanthropic work over a decade and I’ve focused on nonprofits that help families realize social and economic opportunities. These nonprofits offer different programs and services: allow parents to earn their GED and provide childcare services if needed while they’re in class; help women that are negotiating to get equitable pay; deliver early childhood education; and, help students that need support to access college. 

Getting these families on a sustainable pathway for overall prosperity is paramount for society because they will one day be in a position to contribute on so many levels and assist others. If I can be a stepping stone for these individuals and families on their way to achieving greatness then I will feel that I gave back what was once given to me and my family.

(Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, Erie Neighborhood House, and Alivio Medical Center are just a few of my charities.)