Two years ago, Donna Sykora moved to Beloit for a new position. What she found here in southern Wisconsin was so much more.
Donna is key account manager for Alliant Energy. In her role, she manages large industrial customers in the Beloit area. In addition, she represents the company on a number of local boards such as the Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Blackhawk Technical College Foundation Board and United Way Blackhawk Region.
While taking care of her customers is the top priority, Donna also knows the importance of rolling up her sleeves and getting involved in the Beloit community.
“It’s vital to be part of the community,” says Donna, a Chippewa Falls, Wis. native, who moved to Beloit from Michigan. “I’m fortunate to work for an organization like Alliant Energy, which is committed to the community it serves. They not only encourage employees to get involved, they support it. That’s not always the case with some companies.” The Alliant Energy Foundation has a volunteer program that credits employees for hours worked in support of a nonprofit organization. At the end of each year, the employee receives a check, up to $400 for 200 or more hours of work, to present to that organization.
“One fascinating aspect is the matching gift program,” says Donna. “Our Foundation matches gifts that employees like me make to eligible nonprofits. We want to improve lives in our service areas. The reason is simple. Those communities are our communities, and a brighter future helps us all.”
Not only does Donna serve on the United Way board of directors, she co-chairs the organization’s capital campaign that has a goal of $2.8 million this year. United Way Blackhawk Region funds about 100 programs annually at more than 40 local nonprofit agencies in Rock County and northern Winnebago County (South Beloit, Roscoe, and Rockton.) Each year, more than 100,000 services are provided to residents through United Way funded programs in the Blackhawk Region.
“I have learned so much about the work being done in this region thanks to the United Way nonprofit partners supported by the annual campaign,” Donna says. “United Way is a volunteer-driven organization. I’m inspired by how people support their neighbors with a commitment to Live United.”
Prior to accepting her position with Alliant Energy, Donna had never spent any time in Beloit. But once she came to town, Donna came away impressed with the city’s beauty, its people and its culture. Now she can’t imagine being anywhere else.
“This is my home now,” says Donna, who enjoys attending local festivals, the farmer’s market and special events such as the Beloit International Film Festival. “It’s a great place to live and work. There a welcoming feeling you get here in Beloit.”
Most of all, Beloit is a place where Donna can surround herself with like-minded people who put in the time and effort to make their city a better place to live.
“If you’re going to be part of any community, you have to give back,” she says. “You have to participate in order to be a part of a change. There’s a fellowship here among the people. These are people who share similar goals and interests, all for the good of Beloit.”
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