Leo Q & A

Leo Love Spotlight: Sarah Kaminsky Gives Back and Connects with Colleagues at Greater Chicago Food Depository

Leo Burnett honors outstanding employees who embody the original spirit of Leo Burnett – generosity – in new spotlight series. In the first installment the agency recognizes Sarah Kaminsky, SVP, Account Director, who leads a monthly volunteer opportunity at Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Leo Burnett, founded on the idea that “what helps people, helps business,” is a philosophy that has continued to inspire employees for the past 88 years in many forms. Leo Love is Leo Burnett’s community outreach program that empowers our agency to dedicate time, talent and resources to the growth and improvement of our people, our community and those who stand proudly beside us.

Leo Burnett recognizes outstanding Burnetters who go above and beyond giving back to the local community. For the first Leo Love Spotlight, the team is proud to recognize Sarah Kaminsky, SVP, Account Director, for her volunteerism with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Sarah has been volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository and inspiring others to do the same since 2020. She started with the organization from a brief call-to-action in the agency’s newsletter. Over the past three years, it’s become a way to give back and build community with our team members outside the walls of 35 WW.

Learn more about Sarah and what inspires her to lead this opportunity in new Q&A.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

S: I’m a mom to two boys, who are 4 and 6, and a 3-year-old golden retriever. I am not one to sit still – like to constantly be exploring new places, doing activities and would prefer to bike into work in 20-degree weather than stand on a crowded train.

Q: What inspired you to start volunteering?

S: Volunteering has been engrained in me/ something that’s been a part of my life since I can remember. As a young kid my family would volunteer to make Thanksgiving baskets for those in our community and over the years, I’ve supported various organizations and causes. It always fills my soul. It reminds you that the world is much bigger than just yourself and even just a few hours of your time can make an impact on people’s lives.

Q: Can you tell us how you got started volunteering with Greater Chicago Food Depository? Do you have a personal story or ties to this organization?

S: During the pandemic one of my team members saw a call out in the agency’s Hello Newsletter about volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository and asked if I’d be up for coming with. We were seeking ways to get together and reconnect as a team. We ended up getting a good-sized crew together from across departments to go volunteer for the morning and grab pizza afterwards. We had so much fun and decided we wanted to do it monthly. As more people heard about it, I just extended the invite to other teams and departments. The rest is history.

Q: How has your volunteer experience impacted your role at Leo Burnett? What impact do you hope your efforts will have?

S: This agency was founded with a simply gesture of kindness and service – handing out free apples during the great depression – and personally, volunteering has helped remind me of this core value and reconnect with what it means to be a Burnetter. Yes, we are here to deliver great creative solutions to our clients but this place and the people who work here are about much more than that at its core – that’s what makes it special. Volunteering has enables me meet to so many new people at the agency, learn about them, their teams, their friends and families – and it’s those connections that make Leo Burnett feel like a family to me. I hope this inspires each Burnetter to find what connect them to this agency and share it with their team, department etc. It might be joining us at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, volunteering with Off the Street Club or getting involved in the great BRGs and ERGs or in another Leo Love organization – but I encourage everyone to find their thing and share. We have so much to learn from each other.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory from your volunteer activities?

S: Truly my favorite memories are the simple conversations we have over three hours of re-packing food that have led to new connections. Before volunteering I would pass people in the office daily – know their faces but not know their name or anything about them. Volunteering has enabled me to meet more people, learn about some great new restaurants to try or places to vacation. And the foundation of great work is relationships, connections, knowing each other outside the day-to-day meetings. This has been a great way to do that.

Q: How can people get involved?

S: I reserve a block of volunteer spots about every other month and when I send out the announcement to teams, you simply need to register through the link – that’s it! You come to the depository the morning of the volunteer day and it’s about a 3-hour commitment – 3 hours of chatting with fellow teammates and Burnetters. Dates are set about 6-8 weeks out so simply block your calendar, tell your clients, partners agencies – you’ll be surprised how welcoming many of them are of it.