Blog Post - Aug 13, 2020

Making Big Dreams Possible

Katie Lundgren-Smith shares about the unique way she is able to merge her professional expertise and commitment to service as she lives engaged locally.

As a marketing coordinator at Dairyland, I spend a lot of my time helping to shape and tell the company’s story – not just in terms of our products or applications but also our Mission, Vision and Values and how we apply these themes through our Live Engaged initiative. I generally work behind the scenes, but you have probably seen evidence of my work in our bimonthly newsletters, tradeshow materials, presentations, etc. We are a small team with very individualized skill sets. Collectively that makes us stronger as we recognize and appreciate the unique viewpoints and contributions that we bring to the table which enable Dairyland’s success.

When I started at Dairyland I was really excited to dive into the Live Engaged initiative and figure out what exactly that would look like for me. It’s so great to work for a company that offers paid volunteer and personal development time (components of the initiative). The idea is so simple, that when a person is given the time to pursue their interests and passions, they are overall happier and bring the best version of themselves to their job. While I loved the idea of paid volunteer time, I wasn’t immediately sure where and how to start. Fortunately for me, the perfect opportunity quickly presented itself.


Over the past two years, I have donated time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County (Wisconsin), helping them design invitations and materials for their largest annual fundraising event – their Dream BIG Gala. I have been a graphic designer for a decade now, and it’s a skill set that I still enjoy putting to use. I love the problem-solving aspect of design — being given a basic idea or a list of “must have” information and figuring out how to communicate it in a way that captures attention and generates interest. When BBBS reached out to me last year to see if I could help design their Gala materials, it was a no-brainer for me; I said yes immediately.

Big Brothers Big Sisters believes that all children have the ability to thrive and succeed in life and works to pair at-risk youth with volunteers in the community, developing positive relationships and mentorship experiences. Like most other non-profits, BBBS doesn’t spend money on graphic design work. Instead they put the money that they raise back into the community, to help as many children as possible.

This year, like so many other organizations, BBBS has been impacted by COVID-19 and the cancellation of in-person events. Knowing that the funds raised during their annual Gala event make up more than 25% of their annual budget, they chose not to cancel their event, but instead turned it into a virtual party. Their BIG House Party takes place on September 19th, and all funds raised through this on-line event will help further their mission of “igniting power and potential in of the youth in our community”. There is an added focus this year on reducing isolation in this current environment, making sure that their “Littles” and their families have access to food, supplies and other basic needs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great organization and I am incredibly happy to offer my design skills to help support the work they do. I am grateful to work for a company that allows me the time to not only invest in myself, but to also pay it forward with volunteer projects like this.