Why I Support the NPCA: Virginia Volpe
By Guest Contributor on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
“My Peace Corps experience in Sri Lanka was life-changing,” says Virginia Volpe, a member of the NPCA Leadership Circle. As North American head of the Client Executive Team for the Securities and Fund Services business at Citi, Virginia now deals with hedge and private equity clients. This is a long way from the small village in the mountains of Sri Lanka where she worked in community development, but she says her Peace Corps experiences in 1992-1994 proved to be valuable life and career lessons.
A World Opened Up
Virginia appreciates that NPCA helps her continue to support the Peace Corps and re-connect with other RPCVs. Many of her friends from years at Austin College also entered the Peace Corps in the early 1990s. The college opened up Virginia’s view of the world and she felt the Peace Corps was a safe way to explore because it provided language training, was attached to the U.S. government, and had a process for helping Volunteers do their jobs well.
Virginia’s job in community development in Sri Lanka illustrated several challenges of development work. She had to get permission from the village elders to work with the Women’s Society to decide on a project to be funded by foreign sources. But neither the village women nor the outsiders understood the culture of the other; each side telling the other what they wanted to hear. “I probably was the driver of the project, since it fell apart when I left. Then I realized the value of micro-lending to women who had their own ideas. I may know the best step they could take in my opinion, but each woman in her own knows the right next step for herself personally.”
Lasting relationships are important to Virginia. She is so pleased that a few members of her Sri Lankan host family won the Green Card lottery and now live in Dearborn, Michigan. She also values the connections RPCVs can make through NPCA.
“I donated to NPCA over the years but was not a huge participant. Now I am a member of the Leadership Circle. I really appreciated a thank-you call from Glenn Blumhorst, the President. Peace Corps was so life-changing for me. It was there that I caught the international bug. I went on to get a degree in Economics and Latin American Studies from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and have been involved globally with Citi.”
Like Virginia, you can continue to advocate for the goals of the Peace Corps and connect with other RPCVs by supporting NPCA. Keep your life-changing experience alive. Thanks for your support, Virginia!
Members of the Leadership Circle are engaged members of the Peace Corps community who provide core support for NPCA’s programs and services at the Contributor, Supporter and Sustainer levels. To learn more, visit http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/contact-us/contributing/leadership-circle/.
[Thanks to NPCA volunteer Natalie Hall for conducting this interview.]