YLS Member Spotlight: Shelley Johnsen

Shelley Johnsen, an advertising manager for BMO Harris Bank, is the vice chair of the YLS Special Events Committee. Read on to discover how she joined YLS, how volunteering helped her discover a hidden talent, and what fall activity she loves most.

Why did you join YLS, and what is your current role with YLS?

I joined YLS after attending one of the social events last year – I’ll admit that I went after only a little bit of arm-twisting from my good friend Tess Mattingly, a United Way staff member. I had a great time and knew I wanted to be involved. This year, Tess let me know about the opportunity to work on the Special Events Committee, so I applied for and accepted the vice chair position.

Why did you choose your particular committee?

I have experience in working on events for non-profit organizations: I did a summer internship in marketing and events for the Chicago International Film Festival, and I was also our Senior Class Social Chair at Butler University, where I attended undergrad.

Tell us about the next YLS event you are most excited about.

So glad you asked! We are currently in the process of planning this year’s Festivus gala, and I think it is going to be better than ever. I am really looking forward to seeing that come together.

There are so many good non-profit opportunities. What makes YLS the right option for you?

I think YLS is great because it brings together young professionals for a philanthropic goal. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in your job and put giving back at the bottom of your priority list, but YLS makes getting involved in key issues in our community really easy and fun.

What is you favorite thing about YLS?

I love that it provides me with opportunities to volunteer with various organizations, and obviously I have a great time at all of the events!

What would you say to someone interested in joining YLS?

Do it!!!

What was your favorite YLS or United Way event?

I had a really great time at last year’s Festivus, but I think I had almost as much fun face-painting at the volunteer activity for Association House a few months ago. I definitely discovered a hidden talent…

How did you get introduced to United Way?

I have to credit Tess for that. In addition to being a valued staff member for United Way, she is a huge advocate outside of the office as well. I drank the Kool-Aid.

Some fun ones:

Favorite TV show? I like the WORST TV! Bad reality: The Voice, The Bachelor, most of the stuff on TLC…but I round it out with some scripted gems like Glee, New Girl and Mad Men. Maybe I watch too much TV…?

Favorite book? I really loved all of the Malcolm Gladwell books; I find myself reading them over and over and still discovering things I missed from the time before. I also really love Jen Lancaster – not only is she hilarious, but she lived in Chicago when she wrote so many of her books and makes reference to things that I come across on a daily basis. I’m convinced we would be BFF if we met in person. Same goes for David Sedaris.

What are your iPod favorites? I am not at all embarrassed to admit that I LOVE top 40. Most of my iTunes purchases come straight off the top 10 lists. Don’t hate.

What is your favorite fall activity? Besides eating socially-unaccceptable amounts of candy corn? Probably apple picking – every fall we go in Indiana with my grandma. I always try to convince myself that I love carving pumpkins too, but honestly I feel like I am going to lose at least one finger every time I do it; it’s kind of terrifying.

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