Phil Kolling is a lucky husband and proud father of two young sons who has spent his career in national service in one way or another. In May of 2013 Phil was appointed by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin as Executive Director of SerVermont, Vermont’s Commission on National and Community Service, where he works to promote, support, and recognize volunteerism and community service in Vermont through AmeriCorps and other volunteer initiatives. Previously Phil directed the SerVermont AmeriCorps VISTA Umbrella Project and served as Club Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Everett, MA. From 2007-2008 Phil served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and State member in Vermont and Maine. Phil now spends his free time accompanying his toddler to imaginary land, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors whenever possible. Phil holds a Master of Science in Management of Mission Driven Organizations from Marlboro College Graduate School, and a BS in Community Development from the University of New Hampshire.
How did you get to where you are today? I served and never stopped. I attribute my current position to the fact that I served in AmeriCorps. When I joined AmeriCorps as a VISTA I had no idea that it would open up so many doors and opportunities, or that it would be such a large part of my career. Most of my career has been within AmeriCorps, and during most of the time that I spent outside national service I was involved with other service and volunteer initiatives. Service started my career and has been a common thread throughout it.
What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission? Being part of the AmeriCorps 20th celebration was the most memorable, including being part of the first group (as far as we know) to live stream a President into Vermont’s State House. The best moments are always interacting with members face-to-face, it really reminds me why the work we do is so important.
What advice do you have for others at commissions? Or what is the best advice you’ve received? Remember why we do the work we do. We do what we do for the AmeriCorps members, and for those that the AmeriCorps members serve, those who need them most.
What keeps you motivated? Having seen the difference that AmeriCorps members make in the lives of others, I stay motivated because I want to see as many AmeriCorps members serve in Vermont as possible, and make as much of a difference in the community as possible.
In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength? Ambition
How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging? I think about the end goal of what I am trying to accomplish through the challenge, and remind myself that the challenge is worth accomplishing that end goal.