2015 Outstanding Volunteers

One of the highlights of my year is when I get to recognize the hard work of OTI’s volunteers. These folks often work behind the scenes and their contributions to our mission are so often missed! This year, I am excited to highlight four volunteers who have gone above and beyond to support OTI and tradeswomen.

Outstanding Board Member


Irais Gandarilla  

If her face looks familiar, but you can’t quite place it, look back to your 2015 Women in Trades Career Fair materials. Irais was the face of brand new materials that feature real tradeswomen. She also represented our Board and the organization, acting a spokeswoman . The 2015 Tradeswomen Leadership Institute would not have been the same without her this year either, she served on the planning committee and, in partnership with Annie Burton, presented a workshop Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough.

Outstanding Volunteers

Bea Jenkins 1WEB

Bea Jenkins

As an organizer for the Operating Engineers, Bea has been involved with OTI through presentations to TACC. However, in 2015 she decided to volunteer with us and jumped in with both feet! First, she started as a member of the Tradeswomen Leadership Institute planning committee. In January of  last year, I don’t think Bea knew exactly how big of a role she would play. Ultimately, she ended up being one of the storytellers for Tradeswomen Stories. She also recruited her good friend, Merilee McCall, to be the keynote speaker for the event!

Sho is on the left.

Sho is on the left.

Sho Newman

This incredible woman will sneak quietly under your radar, but she is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, Sho was holding down two jobs, one being her Carpenter’s apprenticeship and then another just to fill up those free hours on the weekend. However, she didn’t let this stop her from being a Lead on our new Volunteer Outreach Team. Sho, and her team, really moved this forward helping OTI staff represent our mission at community events. She recruited folks who had never been involved with OTI and was always bringing a friend (or two!) to social hours.


Shondra Washington

If you have met Shondra, you may not believe that she just graduated from OTI last year. Out of the gate, Shondra was representing OTI, Tree Trimmers, and workers’ right at the 2015 Summer Institute for Union Women. Of course, she didn’t stop there. Shondra regularly presents for TACC. While most people shy away from fundraising efforts, she has also advocated for OTI on this front, presenting to groups about funding OTI and being featured in our 2015 Give Guide Campaign.

I hope you can join OTI staff in recognizing these amazing volunteers. If you are friends with them on Facebook, give them some love and some kudos! Send them a sweet text. Or, best of all, come out and give them a round of applause at our Annual Meeting.


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