Jim Snell, Executive Director of Volunteer Tennesse, joined the ASC Board of Directors in 2012. Jim serves on the Nominating Committee and Public Policy Committee. He recently joined our new AmeriCorps Alums Work Group charged with identifying opportunities for state service commissions to partner with the organization AmeriCorps Alums.
1) How did you get to where you are today?
I participated in Alternative Spring Break activities in college, which sparked my interest in service. Not long after graduation, I heard from a friend about a new program that was like a domestic Peace Corps, and I joined the first class of AmeriCorps in a program in Nashville. I later joined the staff of that program and served as co-director for about 2 years. The state commission then offered me a spot on their staff as Training Officer. That led to Program Officer, then Deputy Director and now, Executive Director.
2) What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission?
Seeing about 200 AmeriCorps members at a statewide event a few years ago building houses for Habitat for Humanity and getting so much accomplished in a single day.
3) What advice do you have for others at commissions? Or what is the best advice you’ve received?
Many good things are possible, but you can’t do everything that you want to do, so select the highest priorities for your state and your commissioners and focus on those.
4) What keeps you motivated?
Knowing that we are enabling AmeriCorps members to make a difference in their communities.
5) In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength?
6) How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging?
I gather as many facts as I can and make sure that my position is solidly based on the evidence. I also try to think about different aspects of the situation and look at it from various perspectives.