Making a Difference Through Volunteerism

March 7, 2020SEE ALL STORIES

Mona Field has brought her infectious energy and enthusiasm to ESC as a member of the consulting corps since 2015. A longtime activist and advocate, she says, “I started being politically active in my mid-teens, but it was my time in college where I felt a sense of obligation to make a better world through a lifelong commitment to community activism.”  

Mona’s career led her to the position of Professor of Political Science at Glendale Community College, where she taught courses such as American Political Ideas and Community Volunteerism. Her classes were designed to encourage students to go beyond the classroom to participate in community dialogues and get involved with the institutions that represent them. Mona herself has a long history of engagement with institutions as a leader and advocate. During her career she served as Vice President of the California Federation of Teachers and as President of the local Glendale Community College Guild, a chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, of which she is a lifetime member. She is also active in the Los Angeles chapter of the League of Women Voters. 

In 2015, Mona’s commitment to community advocacy work drew her to join ESC as a volunteer consultant. At ESC’s new consultant training, Mona remembers, “I immediately felt welcomed by ESC’s staff because they displayed a level of curiosity, respect and delightfulness that they bring to their work — of course it made sense for me to join this organization!”  

Mona appreciates that ESC’s coaching approach aligns with her values of collective learning, shared space and open discussion, saying, “giving people a place where they are not afraid to ask questions and learn from each other is critical.”  She feels grateful to have found a volunteer position that challenges her to use the high-level skills she has acquired over her career and put those skills into practice: “I’m always looking for new opportunities where I can bring my skill-sets and years of experience, and ESC provides a wonderful venue for me to do that in service to the community.”  

For the past five years, Mona has worked with ESC clients such as Variety Boys and Girls Club, Urban Voices Project, the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, and Viver Brasil Dance Company, on projects that have included leadership coaching, board development, succession planning, and ESC’s Executive Directors Leadership Institute.  

With COVID-19 affecting ESC clients and their organizations, Mona has adjusted her approach. Previously, she typically met with her clients in person, often to walk together in nature to encourage them to step away from their routine. She has adopted phone coaching, making it a priority to stay connected with her clients despite the need for physical distancing. Mona continues to bring a strong social consciousness to her consulting approach, one that was born out of her activism against racism and sexism in the 1960s and 1970s. For that reason, she is also glad to be a part of the continuing conversations and efforts that are occurring at ESC around how to more deeply incorporate anti-racism practices into its work. And, above all, the passionate nonprofit leaders and organizations Mona works with motivate her to continue giving her time, energy, and support to ESC. She says, “I love being surrounded by open-hearted leaders who are the thinkers, movers and shakers of their communities!”