A promise kept
Every child deserves an equal chance at success, according to Atlanta alumni council member Susan Ward. As an active board member and the Treasurer of the Boys/Girls Club of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA), Ward is deeply moved by the young people she meets who have overcome disadvantaged environments. And she gets tremendous satisfaction from helping them along the way. After handling many different responsibilities over her 16 years at UPS, Ward counts her role at BGCMA as her most inspiring.
Ward, currently Vice President of Financial Reporting and Accounting for UPS, began her career at EY, where she spent 10 years after a stint as a college intern. Throughout her client work, Ward was struck by the encouragement she received from the partners and managers she worked for, and recalls several who strongly supported her professional development. Starting in the Audit practice, she later moved beyond client service, and was tapped to tackle a challenging assignment in the recruiting area for the New York office. “This was a great opportunity to enhance my public speaking skills and learn how EY ran the business,” she says.
When Ward’s husband landed a job in Atlanta in the early 1990s, she appreciated the opportunity for a transfer in the midst of a recession: “The New York office bent over backwards to make sure I could transfer.” With a wide range of experience from her days at EY, Ward was well prepared to accept an offer from UPS. Her experience at UPS has included a variety of positions with the carrier, among them roles in Global Risk Management and Mergers and Acquisitions, a special assignment in package operations and her current position in Financial Reporting & Accounting.
Volunteering is a natural extension of working at UPS. The company stresses the importance of giving back to the community, and the UPS Foundation is a long-time supporter of BGCMA. Last year, BGCMA served more than 17,000 young people through 30 clubs in the greater Atlanta area. And the organization gets results: children who participate in its programs tend to graduate in significantly higher numbers than those who do not. The organization makes a promise — every day after school, the club will be open to children, with attentive staff and activities to spur positive development. Denzel Washington, Colin Powell and Wesley Clark are just a few of the prominent Americans who talk about how the Boys and Girls Clubs changed their lives.
After serving on the BGCMA board, Ward was asked to be its treasurer this past year. She accepted with great enthusiasm. The organization is “everything I always wanted in a charity,” she says. Among many other activities, Ward points to the Youth of the Year program, which celebrates leadership and community service. Ward, as a program judge, finds it “a most humbling experience” to review the backgrounds of the candidates, each of whom has faced considerable challenges. She shares the stories with her children, who have become avidly interested in the judging process.
The national winners are awarded college scholarships: “The club literally saves these kids.” And for Ward, the reward is immeasurable. “As much time as I spend helping the club, I get so much more back. It’s a precious gift.”