We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabi Lloyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gabi, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success to me is not quantified in numbers. It is about feeling personally fulfilled because you have made a significant contribution to something for the benefit of others.

I have thought a lot about what success would look like in my career and in my life. I believe that success is found daily, not once you stop living paycheck to paycheck or your children turn 18. If you have educated one person about a cause, an event, a societal issue and open their eyes to a different perspective- then Success! If the kids ate cereal for dinner because you were too exhausted to cook that evening. They ate so – Success!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always had a very “I’ll figure it out” attitude. Sometimes that gets me into trouble (!) but mostly it is used as a reassurance to my coworkers that the task will be done, so don’t worry about it. And then I follow through! Someone once told me that their definition of a good leader is “someone that does what they say they are going to do”. That follow-through is really the important part. Just because I say, “I’ll figure it out”, I need to position myself to be ready to meet others’ expectations and my own.

I am proud to say that I have worked for the same organization for nearly 15 years. My loyalty to this organization stems from seeing its mission come to life with me in the driver’s seat.

Many people hear the word Goodwill, and it reminds them that they need to drop off that bag of items that’s been sitting in their trunk for weeks! However, Goodwill is so much more than a store. They offer job training, education and so much more to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Goodwill was there for me in 2007 when I was a 20-year-old single mom on Welfare. I had only had a couple of jobs up to that point and none of them excited me. Honestly, I was just there to collect that paycheck so I could take care of my family.

I enrolled in a Customer Service Training program at Goodwill to gain more work skills before applying for a better-paying job. I had no idea at that time that getting a hefty paycheck at the end of the week wasn’t what I really wanted. I learned so much from the program and not just about customer service, I learned how to manage my money, buy a car and create a resume. At the end of the program, I was sad to leave to go on to an externship. I was sad because although I wasn’t an employee yet, I already felt part of the Goodwill family. Suddenly my eyes were open to the fact that I actually needed to feel good about where I work. That meant more to me than money. I prayed that a position would open up for me that I could apply for.

God must have heard how hard I prayed because while I was doing my externship, I was invited to apply for a part-time receptionist position. Guess what? I got the job! A year later I was promoted to Administrative Assistant, Marketing. Eight years later, I was promoted again to my current position of Development Specialist. I had finally found my calling – to be a fundraiser!

I truly believe that it is my “I’ll figure it out” attitude that has brought me to where I am now. It wasn’t always easy, but I love to continuously learn, discover, try new things and Goodwill allows me to do all of that. My career not only fills my pockets, but it fills me with joy! Goodwill was there for me and I get to be a part of making sure that Goodwill is around to help many others like me. I can’t imagine building my career anywhere else.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting Pittsburgh, what are some spots they could take them to?
Pittsburgh is a growing melting pot filled with techies, but it also has those who remember a Pittsburgh before it was “on the map”. There is soooo much history here!!

We would absolutely have to start with the history. A trip to the Heinz History Center in the Strip District to see actual sets from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood!! Lunch at Wholey’s and then a walk through the Strip to shop.

Day 2, might be a trip to Kennywood to experience the Phantom’s Revenge rollercoaster! Then fries with Heinz ketchup at the Potato Patch for lunch/dinner.

Day 3 we would have to travel the Incline to the Overlook with one of the most breath-taking views of the city. We might walk through historic Mt. Washington and stop for dinner and drinks at the very classy LeMont Restaurant.

Day 4 we might take a ride on the Gateway Clipper Fleet and explore the Point and the 3 rivers – Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio. We could go for drinks after at the Hard Rock Cafe and dinner at Buca di Beppo’s – the finest Italian Cuisine.

I couldn’t let my dear friend leave without catching a Pirates game at PNC Park or Steelers game at Heinz Field. Then we could take a walk through the Pittsburgh Cultural District and experience art from local artists. Dinner would have to be at the iconic Mike and Tony’s.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The entire staff at Goodwill of Southwestern PA, my husband that puts up with me, and Mr. Rogers. It was a Youtube video of Mr. Rogers pitching to a Senator to gain funding for children’s programming that I saw at a training that made me fall in love with fundraising. Here is the link if you’re interested! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA

Website: www.goodwillswpa.org

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