Interview with a YLS Rock Star

Bob Gosman accepting the 2012 YLS Rock Star Award.

Congratulations to our 2012 YLS Rock Star, Bob Gosman! Bob is an account executive from Public Communications Inc. and 2011-2012 chair of the YLS Communications committee. Hear directly from Bob in an exclusive interview by Zach Walters of Royal Bank of Canada and chair of the YLS Member Development committee. Zach: So Bob, could you tell us a little about yourself, about your professional role and some of your interests outside of work? Bob: Definitely. 2012 has been an incredible year already. On March 6, my wife and I gave birth to our first child, Liam and already we can’t imagine what life was like before him. I work for Public Communications Incorporated, which is an integrated communications firm in Chicago. We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, which we’re very excited about. And when I’m not working I enjoy sports, playing cards, traveling and spending time with friends and family. Zach: How long have you volunteered with YLS? Bob: In 2008 I worked as a Loaned Executive at United Way during the fundraising season. That was when I first heard about YLS and it was an opportunity for me to get involved, I liked it right away and I’ve been involved ever since. Zach: Can you tell us about a meaningful volunteer experience and what that meant to you? Bob: When I moved to Chicago in the middle part of the 2000’s, I volunteered at an assisted living facility in Skokie. I’d had a really good relationship with both sets of grandparents and after they passed on, I wanted to still connect with that generation and over the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve had the chance to really make some dear friends and learn an incredible amount about World War II and what this country was like in the earlier part of the 20th Century. And my favorite man, Max Rota, taped over 1,000 videos off of VHS that he has in his room and we watched more than 20 of them together, so that’s been a really rewarding experience. Zach: So what community issues are most important to you and why? Bob: Probably the most important issue to me is education reform. As we all know life can be pretty difficult and the odds are really stacked against you if you don’t graduate from high school. So I love the way United Way and YLS does so much great work in education in preparing kids for high school and you’re able to touch, in general, so many issues with United Way because of how broad the scope of income, education and health is. Zach: So what drives you to give back to the community? Bob: I’ve always appreciated programs when I was growing up where people helped me. So it was natural when I got older and had some time and ability to give back to other people. I think volunteers always get as much out of it as they put in and I think volunteering is some of the most rewarding work you can do, especially with a great organization like YLS. Zach: What does it mean to you to be recognized by YLS as a community Rock Star for all of 2012? Bob: I’m so honored and humbled for so many reasons. It will be the only time that anyone will ever associate me with a rock star. Being honored as a rock star is great and one of the things I really like about YLS is you have so many great opportunities to develop your leadership and to grow as a person, which I’ve been able to do this year. I’ve gotten to meet so many great people and work with a lot of really good committees and there’s such great staff support at United Way that makes it so much fun.

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