Every month, we’ll chat with a different Goodwill employee and get at what it’s really like working at Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey.
This month, to celebrate the launch of A Good Look, we were able to snag a little talk time with Mauricio Hernandez, Senior Vice President of Retail Sales for Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.
Though he started out at at Los Angeles’ Goodwill, Mauricio is now an avid Yankee fan and a wholehearted member of the east coast community. In our conversation below, he helped explain how online social media is key to connecting with people, be they the family next door, newly arrived residents, or visitors curious about the communities around them. So, without further ado, this month’s very special Insider Interview:
Hi Mauricio. So, to jump right on in, why don’t you tell us a bit more about what exactly you do at Goodwill? How would you describe your job here?
Rewarding! I moved to the New York-New Jersey area in 1995 and it’s been a fascinating experience. We have grown from 9 to 37 stores and are still growing! Our goals are simple: strive to provide convenience to our donors and value to our customers. However, knowing that our business success is correlated to the expansion of our mission work makes my job feel special. Moreover, I am fortunate to work with a committed group of retail professionals who share Goodwill’s mission, vision and values.
Sounds good – who wouldn’t like a business model based on, well, goodwill? What is Goodwill’s specific role in the Greater New York and New Jersey area?
Aside from our contribution to the environment (by diverting millions of pounds of goods form the local landfills and encouraging people to reuse and recycle), we are one of the most diverse nonprofit organizations in the country. Our programs serve people with disabilities and other disadvantages. We offer over 85 different programs throughout our territory, including workforce development, welfare to work, youth programs, programs for immigrants and refugees, and more. As an organization, we work diligently to respond to the needs of the communities we serve.
Is that part of why you decided to expand Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey into the online social media space? New York and New Jersey both seem enormous – but not compared to the internet… Why choose to go socialize online now?
Being in the New York/New Jersey area means we’re also in the number one media market – the most expensive in the country – and this makes it very difficult for us to do traditional press outreach. However, social media is not just more cost effective, but it is also an accessible medium that companies, large and small, are using to connect and communicate with current and potential customers. As much as we see the online social media space as a place to share information on Goodwill’s mission and services, we also see it as a place to interact with our customers, invite valuable feedback and connect with our community.
Seems you’re pretty focused on community interaction and outreach. So how, then, do you think social media is changing our conceptions of community?
Social media is definitely expanding our notion of community and our ability to reach people on a more egalitarian level. By the power of a click, anyone can share a personal experience with a number of people and increase the impact of their interaction. Businesses can strengthen their customer relations and communications well beyond their typical audiences – and both brands and people can now reach one another, share stories and connect on a whole new of level of communication.
All Goodwill Industries aside, what advice do you have for someone who wants to make a difference in his or her own community, both online and off?
Be an informed donor and shopper. Volunteer your time to organizations that actually do what they say they do. Increasingly, organizations like Goodwill Industries are forced to compete for donations with for-profit companies disguised as charities, so now more than ever, it is important for donors to be informed.
To hear more from Mauricio and the rest of the Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey team, keep checking back on A Good Look – and be sure to follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/goodwillnynj for all your local Goodwill news, photos, videos, and interviews to come.