By Mara Klecker
Ann Garst Taylor, AIM at Melanoma’s new Director of Community Engagement, has nearly 30 years of volunteer management experience and is a certified Volunteer Administrator, but her desire to serve extends far beyond her impressive resume. She was just 12 years old when she took on her first volunteer role. “I’m a part of the volunteer tribe, and I understand what it means to offer time, talent and experience to organizations,” Taylor said.
Taylor spent the last 10 years as the Director of Volunteer Services for a large healthcare system in Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the years, she has worked in volunteer management roles at hospitals, nursing homes, hospice programs and other nonprofit organizations.
“I believe that the world is a better place when we make time to serve our community,” Taylor said.
That’s why she was drawn to a career spent working with nonprofits, she said. The important work of those organizations often depends on volunteers, who can help raise funds or give their time to be the “hands and feet of an organization,” Taylor said.
One of the great joys of her life, she said, is to help guide someone into a volunteer role once they express the desire to make a difference in their community. “I know what it feels like for me to give, and I want to give other people the opportunity to feel that too,” she said.
Taylor will be doing a lot of that in her new role, which she started in July. She’ll be helping to build community support for AIM’s mission and recruiting volunteers to help with the organization’s day-to-day work as well as with fundraising walks and the Peer Connect program. Taylor will also organize guests and arrange topics for symposiums and the Beyond the Clinic podcasts. “When the community wants to engage with AIM, I’ll often be their first contact point,” she said.
Taylor’s sister had Stage I melanoma removed about two years ago and has since been much more careful about protecting her skin. “I don’t have the level of experience that some of our patients have, but I certainly understand the fears that come when someone you love is diagnosed with skin cancer,” she said.
In her first weeks on the job, Taylor has already found it rewarding to help newly-diagnosed patients connect with the resources and support offered through AIM. “I am just gobsmacked by how much work AIM does, by how thorough the website is and how informative the symposiums are,” she said. “It makes me really proud to be a part of an organization where everyone is so dedicated, hardworking, and productive…I have absolutely the best job because I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about their work and all have servant’s hearts.”
Garst Taylor lives in Charlotte with her mother and their cat, Lily. She describes herself as an “Anglophile” who loves watching British television and even lived in England for a year. She also enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, and hanging out with friends.
The staff of AIM at Melanoma welcomes Ann and is excited to meet the new volunteers she invites into our mission.