Thanks to Illini Chabad for sponsoring today’s mom to know. Check out our article on Illini Chabad’s new class, The Art of Parenting. Now enrolling! Just $79 for a six-week course, starting on Jan. 26 in Champaign.
Becca Guyette moved to Champaign from Ohio in 2001 with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Joe to attend graduate school and law school together. Today Becca serves at Director of Leadership Giving at United Way of Champaign County, a role she’s held since June 2013 after spending 10 years as Program Director and Development Director at the YMCA of the University of Illinois on campus. Becca is active in community organizations including Junior League of Champaign County, Rotary Club of Urbana, Girls on the Run of Champaign County and East Central Illinois Association of Fundraising Professionals. She most enjoys spending time with her family and adult beverages with her besties. Becca, Joe, and their son Joseph John (J.J.) and daughter Elizabeth (Ellie) live in Savoy.
See why we think Becca Guyette is a Chambana Mom to Know.
Q: How did you react to being named the Central Illinois Business Woman of the Year?
Mostly with surprise, but of course with great pride. As cliche as it is, there truly are so many deserving individuals in Central Illinois. That the judges chose me, someone who has spent and intends to spend my entire career in the not-for-profit sector, was also a wonderful indication of this community’s priority of service and philanthropy.
Q: What do you love about your work at United Way of Champaign County? What is your biggest challenge?
What DON’T I love? It is truly a wonderful place to work. What I love most though, is that everyone I work with there is a team player who is absolutely fantastic at their job. It makes each of us stronger when we are all working to the best of our individual abilities. My biggest challenge is making sure that everyone in the county is aware of our work at United Way, and feels a part of the change we are creating in this community.
Q: You seem to be a guru in the arena of work/life/family/volunteer/exercise balance. What tips can you give us?
A guru? Thank you, but hardly. I will say this, each of those things has high value in my life. Each day is a new juggling act to find a balance between them all. For example, I barely missed a workout this summer. However, the fall is full-speed ahead for the kids and work, so I then followed that with three months of barely doing any working out until December. My volunteer contributions ebb and flow based on what’s happening in my life. Sometimes I give it my all, sometimes I barely give anything.
Having said all of that, I will admit that I am an extraordinarily structured, scheduled person, which makes me pretty efficient and able to fit it all in.
As far as tips, I would just encourage people to look at what “fills them up” and what makes them feel empty. Choose the activities that fulfill you in one way or another. For me that is my family and friends, so I try to always make time for them. Likewise, the one thing that I rarely, if ever, sacrifice is sleep. It makes me ineffective, impatient and grumpy. I learned a long time ago that I simply cannot go without, so I don’t. There is no trick, as we all know, but it is about doing what you can, when you can, how you can.
Q: How did you become involved in civic life and community service?
From as early as I can remember I watched my mom and dad giving back in my hometown. Whether it was something quiet like helping people get back on their feet after having a difficult time, or something more public like all their work in our church and school, they were always helping people. I was always encouraged to volunteer for anything that needed to be done at school (cleaning classroom chalk erasers might have been my first official community service activity) and in our community, so I did. That carried onto college, graduate school, and then of course my professional life.
Q: What is your advice to parents who want to get their children more involved in community service?
Model that behavior. I’ve had multiple parents contact me over the years and say, “My son or daughter needs X number of volunteer hours for their school. Could you help them find something to do?” I’m always happy to work with youth be more active in serving our community, but when the parents exhibit none of that behavior themselves, I have a strong sense their child’s civic engagement it will be fleeting. Alternately, when parents are servant leaders themselves, children nearly always follow their path.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, and money wasn’t an object: where would you go and who would you take with you, and why?
A warm, tropical vacation with my husband. We’ve been trying to plan it for nearly a year but kids/work/life keeps getting in the way. Why? Because an unfortunate sacrifice of this productive, but frenetic, life he and I live is time alone with one another. Fortunately we both find joy and contentment in the everyday stuff, but a carefree week alone with one another is long overdue!
Q: What is the favorite thing in Champaign-Urbana that you think more people should know about?
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE Briella’s Boutique, a children and family consignment store in Savoy. I consign and shop there on a regular basis and they honestly have the friendliest staff in town. It has been great for the kids and me and we always find something. Frequently, I find exactly what I am looking for, whether it’s a special occasion dress or pair of shoes. I have recommended it to many moms I know and love. I’m a bargain hunter to the core, but also like to look nice so it meets both of those needs!
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday with your family, in Champaign-Urbana?
That depends on the season. Fall, winter or spring would start off with some kid sporting activity that J.J., my son, is playing and Joe, my husband, is coaching (currently indoor soccer at the Y) followed by lunch out at one of our favorite places to eat. Early afternoon would be spent doing something productive around the house and mid-late afternoon would be spent outdoors with kids on bike ride/walk. I would follow that up with a cookout here with our closest family friends, who we love being with, and being in bed by 10! Summertime would be spent with a morning workout and the rest of the day at the pool with dinner and drinks poolside. Hopefully it will be here before we know it!
Becca Guyette was nominated to be a Chambana mom to know. Nominate a mom or dad today — it’s easy!