The concept of ubuntu roughly means “I am, because we are.”
Nelson Mandela describes it as “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.”
In this Tessitura’s Innovator Series talk, delivered live at the 2019 Tessitura Learning & Community Conference, Nicole Smith describes how the concept of ubuntu underpins her work as the Manager of Volunteer and Internship Services at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Fla.
The Arsht Center’s volunteers range in age from 18 to 94, represent 29 different countries, and speak over 10 different languages. They bring experience from over two dozen different professions, many at the executive and C-Suite level. Last season their volunteers and interns contributed over 44,000 hours to the organization — the equivalent of a million-dollar in-kind gift.
How do they foster such dedication? “We purposefully and mindfully make sure our volunteers are woven into the fabric of our organization,” Nicole says. From surveys to town halls to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Month, the Center makes sure to foster communication, caring, and connection.
“Through communication, caring, and connection we were able to foster ubuntu — a deep understanding among our volunteers, interns, and staff about how we all need to work together to help one another further the Center’s mission.”
Scroll up to watch Nicole's talk, recorded live at the 2019 Tessitura Learning & Community Conference in Chicago.