Labor & Employment paralegal Wolf Schuchert recently rode their bike across the country to raise money and awareness for the affordable housing cause with a nonprofit organization called Bike & Build as part of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin’s GOAL Program, which stands for Go Out And Learn/Lead.
The firm encourages all lawyers and staff to identify a professional goal or learning objective each year, and then supports their plan through providing marketing and human resources support, covering expenses for courses, certifications, registrations and more. Learn more about the GOAL Program.
We sat down with Wolf to learn more about their GOAL.
Tell us about your GOAL.
My GOAL was to ride my bike across the country to raise money and awareness for the affordable housing cause with an organization called Bike & Build. Bike & Build, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in 2003 with a mission to benefit affordable housing and empower young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement through service-oriented cycling trips. Since its founding, Bike & Build has enrolled 3,600+ riders who have pedaled 11+ million miles, volunteered more than 245,000 hours on build sites and donated $6.6 million to affordable housing organizations.
Why did you decide to pursue this GOAL?
This trip would allow me to both pursue one of my dreams and advocate for a cause I am passionate about. It would push me to new limits and provide the opportunity for not only self-discovery and growth, but to gain an expanded awareness of areas of the country I’d never been to before. It was important to me to be able to use this opportunity of a lifetime to do something impactful and important for others. Come find me to talk more about affordable housing!
How do you think this GOAL will help you in your role at the firm?
The trip ended up being much more than just biking and building. Sure, the views were unbelievable and the adventures, innumerable. My physical limits were tested. My teammates became my family. But the most significant takeaways were more nuanced. Every day you are stepping out of your comfort zone and adapting to new experiences and surroundings. You can’t rely on any constants or access to resources and must problem solve on the fly. You may be thrown into a position in which you’re not familiar or may need to work with someone with whom you don’t see eye-to-eye. Plus, getting 31 people to operate as one cohesive unit takes negotiation, flexibility, empathy and practice. A lot of practice.
Above all, this trip exposed me to new perspectives. From getting to know my teammates (think lightening round speed dating) to talking with local residents, this experience has saturated me with stories, all different from my own. And I too have shared my story
with them. Through this exchange, together we have expanded our own narratives as well as the ways in which we look at and exist in the world.
Teamwork, creative thinking, problem-solving, increased confidence, taking risks/pushing oneself and considering multiple perspectives are skills that translate directly to any professional work setting. I’m excited to incorporate what I’ve learned into my practice and believe it will help me to be a more well-rounded asset to the firm.
What does it mean to you to work for a firm that supports you in your professional development?
The firm’s support of me in this venture makes me feel valued not just as an employee, but as a person. Furthermore, when I’m supported at work, I feel happier, more invested and motivated to reciprocate. Actually, it feels kind of like being in a really healthy relationship, with open lines of communication and an understanding that everyone needs a little freedom to explore. There’s an understanding that in the end, we’re better for it.
What do you plan to do with the skills you learned from this GOAL?
If you knew me before Bike & Build you won’t be surprised that I’ve become a Bike & Build junkie. Bike & Build is a fantastic organization doing some really great work, and it goes without saying that I will stay involved in the affordable housing cause and with the organization as an alum.
Additionally, this is not a “been there, done that” experience. I will continue challenging myself to grow and learn, to take risks, push boundaries and defy expectations, look inward, really listen to others and overall, to strive for authenticity in everything I do.
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