When coworkers and volunteers were asked to share sentiments about Erin Balzotti’s leadership, their accolades filled 11 pages.
That effusive praise is a testament to Erin’s empathetic and effective leadership. As the director of volunteer services, Erin had to restructure her entire department in early 2020, when NHRMC suspended all volunteering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when NHRMC needed to show strength and unity, Erin rose to the occasion: She jumped in to manage the labor pool team. Then – when NHRMC began preparing for COVID-19 vaccination clinics – she recruited nearly 1,000 volunteers in six weeks to staff the various clinics.
Her ability to juggle a hundred balls at once with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone she works with is classic Erin, her teammates said. She listens to suggestions from her team, encourages creativity, and doesn’t micromanage. She is able to effectively communicate to both her paid staff and large volunteer pool with grace, poise, and professionalism, making one coworker wonder whether she has magical powers.
“It takes a special talent to lead a group of folks who volunteer, because they could quit at any time,” Ruth Glaser said. “But they don’t – and one of the big reasons why is Erin’s leadership.”
Erin’s talents shone especially bright when her team was in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. But her purposeful kindness – one of her best qualities – has always been part of her leadership style.
One of Erin’s employees recently needed to work a flexible schedule due to an ongoing family emergency that lasted for several months. Erin worked with that employee to determine a schedule that could accommodate her needs. That employee, who has worked at NHRMC for more than 20 years, said, “This has meant more to me than I could ever express.”
Another employee remembered an even earlier example, back when Hurricane Florence hit the Wilmington community. This employee had taken two weeks off work to deal with extensive damage to her home. The day before she was planning to return to work, her car was totaled in an accident. When she called Erin to let her know she would be late the next day, Erin insisted she take another week off work – then raised several hundred dollars from other employees to help the employee with her personal expenses.
Her teammates say you can feel Erin’s compassion. Her kindness makes her an effective, thoughtful leader, and that is why Erin Balzotti, director of volunteer services, is this quarter’s Leader of Excellence.