Amanda Gordon, the board and volunteer relations coordinator in the office of alumni engagement & annual giving, arrived at her newly created position with a proven desire to help people. It’s fundamental to her life – she was a student leader in college, a mentor who helped at-risk kids, and a nonprofit volunteer coordinator.
Since December, Gordon has been charged with helping the UNLV Alumni Board and volunteers stay organized in addition to feeling appreciated. She manages the Legacy Board of the Alumni Association and recruits and trains volunteers for all other Alumni Association programs. Previously, Gordon worked at Vegas PBS as the volunteer coordinator, where she managed the in-bound phone-athon campaign and station tour program.
UNLV has been a big part of my life. I’m a double alumna (’09 BA Sociology, ’11 MA Criminal Justice). I was very involved in residential life. My husband was also a student leader at UNLV, and we met working in res life. He stayed for his Ph.D., and we lived, ate, and slept UNLV.
We were so involved that our wedding reception was in Tiberti Hall. We had to have UNLV be a part of the next chapters because it was so integral. UNLV has literally given me my whole life right now. And we’re expecting our first child at the end of March.
What was appealing about this position, and what are a few of your duties?
As the board and volunteer relations coordinator, I work with a lot of people who volunteer in this community. I find intrinsic value in people who choose to get behind a cause, who choose to go out of their way to get involved and help even when they may not have any skin in the game. It’s important to give those people the best tools for success, whether it’s communicating and giving them direct help, or doing things like writing thank-you cards and birthday cards. I value those things. John Maxwell (an American author, speaker, and pastor) said that people won’t remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel. I believe that.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in small-town southern Illinois. People would leave their doors unlocked. You knew the pastors and you saw people you knew at the football games. It was nice. Coming here was different – Las Vegas being a bigger city -- but UNLV has a tight-knit community feel, too. So it’s like coming home but to a different home; it’s like coming home but someone has rearranged the furniture.
What are some of your hobbies?
As a volunteer coordinator, I think it is important that I also volunteer in the community. I accomplish this as a member of the Junior League of Las Vegas, an international women's service and philanthropy organization.
I also really enjoy scrapbooking and creating photo books. I play Sudoku to wind down; I really like it. I’ve worked up my skills and abilities which is funny because I’m a very visual person so it’s so challenging to me to actually complete the puzzle.
My husband and I enjoy tent camping. We’ve spent most of our time in parks in the Southwest. I’ve camped in pouring rain and thunder lightning. We camped in the Grand Canyon north and it snowed.
I like a lot of classical music; I listen a lot to the local Christian station.
Tell us about a time in your life when you have been daring.
I got a position helping kids at a nonprofit called White Horse Youth Ranch. It helps socially challenged children heal through horse therapy — and I had never ridden a horse before working there. It was a little scary. But I was going to be partnering with horse trainers, and I thought, if I’m asking the kids to do it, I’d better be able to do it myself. So I did it. It was an amazing experience, and I was so honored to be a part of that.
Another thing was that I signed up for my first 10k race, and I started running. My goal was just to finish the whole thing without stopping. But I won my age group!
Finish this sentence: “If I couldn’t work in my current field, I would like to … “
Minister to prisoners. I got my master’s in criminal justice because I have a heart for prison ministry. It’s appealing to feel like you’re making a difference in people’s lives. People need to get second chances and sometimes a third chance. Instead of saying, “These people are criminals,” I say, “They’re human beings who have made a criminal mistake.”
Do you have any tips for success you’d like to pass along?
‘Thank-yous’ and ‘attaboys’ are free. Help someone else be successful. I think that has led me to success — people know I have something nice to say.