Interview by Hannah Sprouse
Tia Revell began her professional life as a freelance photographer and sign designer. After taking a few career detours, she landed at The Motorists Insurance Group – where she is the Commercial Lines Underwriting Assistant – and came to realize her real passion for creativity and helping others. It was through Motorists where Tia was first introduced to Future Possibilities, a nonprofit that works with children to develop life skills in creating a better future. She quickly got involved with the organization, which became more like a family to her, volunteering as a KidCoach for two years. Starting this year, Tia will begin serving on the organization’s Board of Directors. Future Possibilities gives Tia an opportunity to be an involved in volunteerism, to meet new people, and to impact the lives of children everyday.
Give us a snapshot of your career path: My career path has been a bit varied. I studied photography, graphic design and branding in college, and started my professional life as a sign designer and freelance photographer. I took a few career detours, including working for both Amazon and the US Postal Service, and always intended to work my way back into a creative field. Eventually I found myself at Motorists Insurance Group working in Commercial Lines Underwriting, and I am finding that I love working in insurance field so much more than I ever thought I would.
What led you to become involved with Future Possibilities? How long have you been involved & what does the organization mean to you? The support for Future Possibilities at my company is very strong, in part because it was founded in Columbus by Motorists CEO, Dave Kaufman. One day while I was walking to lunch, I saw a Future Possibilities info table set up. So I stopped and spoke to the guy behind the table, Dan Newkirk, who is now the president of the organization. I liked what Dan told me about this volunteering opportunity, especially since I was new to Columbus and had been looking for a way to become involved in the community.
I volunteered as a KidCoach for two years, and then this year in addition to being a KidCoach, I also began serving on the Board of Directors as the Marketing Chair. Future Possibilities has been so much more to me than just a nonprofit that I volunteer with occasionally. I feel like the other coaches are family, and we learn just as much from the children we interact with each year as they learn from us.
What do you want everyone to know about Future Possibilities? Future Possibilities, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that is different from other programs that work with children. Our Ready, Set, Goal! program is designed to support children ages 8-10 from under-served communities in developing life skills. Rather than teaching, adults coach children to find the questions and answers within themselves. This relationship difference is why the adult volunteers, who are usually working or retired professionals, are called KidCoaches. Each KidCoach works with a single Kid for one school year on a goal that the child chooses themselves and learns to achieve though the program curriculum. The result is empowerment of the children as they develop their own skills while being guided and supported in their own unique process.
What is the one thing you are most passionate about? I am passionate about understanding people and creating a future that is better than today, so Future Possibilities has been a natural fit for me. Besides coaching kids, I also find great joy in mentoring or supporting other young professionals, as well as simply learning more about the various kinds of people that live in the world.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek? Honestly, the idea that every day I can do something that will make someone else’s life better, even if in a small way, is what keeps me going. I go to my job and find ways to make a process smoother, or find a problem to be fixed or maybe I just smile at someone who looks like they are having a rough day. I suppose some people would call me an idealist, but that’s OK because it has worked out for me so far.
Who inspires you? I have found inspiration in many people, some of whom like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Nelson Mandela are well known. Others like Jonathan Ives, the designer behind so many of the beautiful yet functional Apple products, and Monty Roberts, the horse whisperer, are not as famous. Also Robert Heinlein, one of the forefathers of science fiction who wrote works like Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. As well as Jane Goodall and Temple Grandin, who are women who pioneered the field of animal behavior and eventually related their findings to new understandings of humanity. Finally, my grandmother, Alyce Revell Franklin, who taught me to believe in myself and that with a little faith, any obstacle can be overcome.
How is Future Possibilities making an impact in Columbus? How can people get involved with the organization? Future Possibilities is preparing kids today to realize that in the future they can choose their own path, and that with help, any goal they set can be achieved. For now those goals may be something like learning to make “Slime” from scratch or learning what fashion designers do, but in the future those goals may be going to & graduation from college or choosing a career path that is different than their parents. There are several ways for people to get involved in Future Possibilities; we recruit new KidCoaches between the months of April & August each year, we have a few large fundraising events in February (the Diamond event) and June (the Golf Outing), and as a 501c nonprofit we are always accepting Donations through our website http://futurepossibilities.org/.
What’s the most exciting thing about Columbus right now? The wide variety of interests & hobbies that you can take part in throughout the year; Reptile Expos, Craft Shows, Gun Shows, Art Walks, Lightsaber classes, Knitting lessons, the Chinese Light Festival, Zoolights, the Maple Sugar Festival, Wizard World Comic Con, Escape Rooms, Board Game Cafes, Arcade Bars, and anything else you might possibly have an interest in trying. I grew up about half way between Baltimore and Philadelphia, just a 2 hour trip to either NYC or Washington D.C., but I never had so many options available to me till I moved here.
What are three things that you wish Columbus had? Columbus could use more revitalization of inner city neighborhoods, more urban farming and beekeeping initiatives, and more public murals on the blank sides of buildings.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? This is a place filled with people who do a lot of good for the world, but at the same time, these people know how to have a good time while doing that good. Golf Outings, Walks, Pelotonia, the Fight for Air Climb, Food Truck events, Wine Tastings, even 24 hour video game streaming … all to benefiting various charities. It’s a unique balance that I haven’t really seen anywhere else.