I'm Joining United Way of Greater Atlanta

I know, you're surprised. Honestly, I'm a little surprised, too. I'm getting over my surprise because I'm pretty excited about what this means for Greater Atlanta.

I'm Joining United Way of Greater Atlanta
Sanjay Parekh at United Way of Greater Atlanta headquarters.

I know, you're surprised. Honestly, I'm a little surprised, too. A few months ago I happened to stumble upon a job posting for an "Entrepreneur In Residence" at United Way of Greater Atlanta (UWGA). Truthfully, I've never been involved with United Way as a donor, volunteer, or anything else.

The process was not quick. There was an initial interview. Then there was an acuity and personality test (I was super unprepared for this). Then a "case study" interview (I really had no idea what I was getting into) with the entire executive team. And then there was the in-person lunch with a number of people on the team and some board members. I appreciated the rigor UWGA took with selecting a new teammate. It gave them time to make sure I was the right one for them and gave me time to make sure they were the right ones for me.

As I got deeper into getting to know the people, I was convinced that this was an opportunity that would be interesting, challenging, and fun (my three requirements for anything I undertake). The people I've interacted with at UWGA lead with their hearts and passion for making metro Atlanta even better than it is.

If you know anything about me, you know I'm passionate about Atlanta. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and spent the first fifteen years of life there, but as luck would have it, my dad got a job with the CDC (another great Atlanta institution), and ever since, Atlanta has been home - now more than twice as long as Kentucky was.

Don't get me wrong - I still love Kentucky, and I am honored by my designation as a Kentucky Colonel. But Atlanta has something special. It's the location, people, and energy. But most of all, it's the southern hospitality.

Serving All Of Atlanta

The other thing that hit a nerve for me is that UWGA serves all of metro Atlanta. If you know me, when I say "Atlanta", I never mean the City of Atlanta and always mean the metro. I know Omeretta the Great would disagree with me, but whenever we're outside of Georgia, and people ask where we're from, we all say "Atlanta" regardless of whether you live in the City of Atlanta, were in the APS system, or not. Only if those who ask us where we're from know metro Atlanta do we start drilling down into where we actually live.

But What About All The Other Stuff?

I know what you're thinking because I thought it too. What about all the other stuff I do? Like the podcasting (Tech Talk Y'all and Edgewise Media) and the startups like TogetherLetters? Fortunately, UWGA understands that I do a lot of disparate things, and those things actually make me a better entrepreneur. I constantly learn from everything I do - even if it is less than successful, like the gift wrap business, Occasional Wraps, from last year (lesson: don't try to ship oblong products lest the shipping costs will crush you).

This Sounds Fun. Can I get Involved?

Well, I'm glad you asked. There isn't anything to get involved with just yet, but in the future, I'm sure we'll be looking for users, volunteers, and possibly even team members. In the coming weeks and months, there is likely a lot we'll hope to tackle, and I'll need your help to make that happen.

There are a few ways you can follow along. You can follow me on LinkedIn or sign up for the email list we've created at UWGA just for this group. We don't have a newsletter just yet, and it may take a while before we send anything out, but once you sign up, we'll be in touch when the time is right.

Subscribe to Sanjay Parekh

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.