Focus 2020: An Interview with Director of Community Relations Whitney Zeh

Feb. 7, 2020

We sat down with Symmetry's Director of Community Relations and Well-Being Whitney Zeh to look back at how our Impact initiative got started and get a peek into what’s to come in the year ahead.

Q. Whitney, thanks for taking a moment to share the mission of Symmetry Impact with us! Can you share a little about your background, the story behind your mission?

A. My passion for community relations began while I was working for a non-profit K-8 school. While there, I handled the service-learning program for the students and managed the community outreach. I loved the relationships I was able to develop with local organizations; growing to understand their needs, how they function, and how they could thrive.

Q. What brought you to Symmetry?

A. My husband Doug and I worked in the non-profit space throughout our careers until we found a home at Symmetry Financial Group, three years ago for myself and four years ago for Doug.

I always believed that I needed to be in the trenches and work in non-profits to make a difference. This changed one day when I was sitting down with Meredith Ellison, Founder and Director of Organizational Well-Being at Symmetry. She mentioned that Symmetry gave us a unique platform where we would have the opportunity to make an even bigger difference in the world. At that moment, I realized that the impact we could make had the potential to grow at a larger scale.

I took on the community relations position at Symmetry and have now found my place. I am so aligned with what I am doing within Symmetry and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Q. How were you able to establish an initiative for giving back here at the corporate office?

A. Doug and I both witnessed the struggle that non-profits face getting programs lifted off the ground, the struggle they faced for resources, and we knew we wanted to be a part of the solution to these issues. Symmetry became a space that allowed us to serve others while providing solutions to the questions we faced in the non-profit world.

Q. What are some of the programs Symmetry runs throughout the year?

A. We host several corporate sponsored events throughout the year, including a National Impact Day where our agents come together in cities across the nation to give back to their communities. We’ve hosted the Symmetry Challenge the past few years, which was a fundraising event for the Make-A-Wish foundation. We also offer opportunities for staff to volunteer and give their time during work hours as a group.

Most importantly, we weave making an impact into any event where we’re all together – whether we’re at a national conference or a leader’s meeting in Asheville, there is always a focus on doing good in the world.

Q. What are some of the organizations that Symmetry partners with?

A. We partner with more than 30 local and regional non-profits and organizations. In the past few years, we’ve spent a lot of time working with and donating to Bounty & Soul, Homeward Bound, OurVOICE, Make-A-Wish, Charity: Water, PubCorps, and the Humane Society.

Q. What differentiates Symmetry from other companies?

A. With our national group of more than 3,000 agents, we’re able to expand the Impact model across the country. We’re seeing agents and their organizations exemplifying our core value of being of service and doing good in the world in their communities. We’re able to expand our reach exponentially in this way, and we celebrate the agents who are prioritizing doing good things for others.

We’ve also introduced our Thrive wellness and leadership initiative to our partner organizations. We provide tools to support their leadership and staff to grow as leaders and practice well-being.

Alongside our sister company, Native Kitchen and Social Pub , we’re able to give back to our community here in Swannanoa in even more ways. We work with Native to give back on a more granular level with several of our non-profit partners.

Q. Would you say that there is anything particular to your experience—as a woman, as a director at Symmetry, or anything else unique to you—that shaped your experience?

A. Working in the non-profit world helped me tremendously. I was able to see that sometimes these organizations can greatly benefit from having people from outside the organization to talk to; to have creative, innovative, brainstorming conversations with. So, I see the benefit in being a partner for non-profits in a sense that we can be there to have these conversations, all while contributing from a financial standpoint.

Q. Has giving back to the community always been a part of Symmetry? Has it grown or changed over time?

A. Symmetry began with a vision and a value system that’s unlike anything else in the industry. So, it was easy for me to take this role knowing how important giving back and doing good in the world was to the founders of the company.

While making an impact has always been a part of Symmetry, in the last three years, the company has really been able to expand our reach and how we can help others.

This growth has allowed us to donate over one million dollars to our partner non-profit organizations in the past three years – an incredible achievement for this company and for all our team members.

Q. A million dollars raised in the past three years - what comes next?

A. We’re excited to grow our relationship with local grassroots organizations like Bounty & Soul and PubCorps . In furthering our partnerships with these organizations, we’re able to continue to expand our impact while helping them do the same. We’re also organizing another Day of Impact for our staff and agents.

We do all of this with the hope that these models of giving back to the community can expand nationwide, and we hope that our continued support will not only make a difference financially but also let the ripple of kindness we see in our community expand outward as far as it can reach.

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This is just the beginning; our sleeves are rolled up and we can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2020. If you are interested in learning more about employment opportunities with Symmetry Financial Group , or you’d like to learn more about how we’re giving back, contact us today.

 

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