Q&A: YBA Volunteer Gino Spinelli of Manufacturers Bank Explains Why Connection Is The Key To Success
A life-long coach to kids through sports and his church, it was a natural choice for Gino Spinelli, Gino Spinelli, Executive Director at Manufacturers Bank, to jump in as a YBA volunteer more than three years ago. Here’s some insight into how Gino leverages his financial expertise and love for kids and coaching into every opportunity he has to volunteer for YBA.
When did you first connect with YBA? What programs have you supported so far?
When I was at my previous bank, I decided to extend my love for working with children and find new ways to volunteer. The bank planned to participate in 5-6 YBA events, including mock interviews, and I immediately signed up.
That has led to my continued volunteerism with YBA for more than three years. During that time, I’ve taught classes on insurance and guided students on the nuances of financial literacy, including things like how to balance a checkbook. These are things they really don’t teach anymore and kids don’t have a clue!
Now that I’m at Manufacturers Bank, I’ve continued my volunteer work with YBA as I simply love it. Nothing is better than seeing the light bulb go off in their mind. During mock interviews, I tell them that they should have the attitude that these companies would be lucky to have them and point out different ways that they can make themselves shine. These kids are really trying – and the program works as long as you talk with them and not at them.
How do you feel you’re making a difference through your volunteer work with YBA?
I was a dyslexic child and, as a result, I took the long road to achieve success. Because of my personal experience, I can appreciate the challenges that some of these kids face.
One way I feel I make a difference is that I try to make a connection with each student I meet. I believe that connection is key – if you can make a connection, you can get your message across and have an impact.
For example, I often share details about my love for cars and watches. This opens up the conversation with students through common interests. I’ve also noticed that at the start of mock interviews, students are often shy, with their head down and eyes on the floor. By the end of our time together, I’ve made a connection and then I see their head up, eyes looking at me and a firm handshake. Then I know I’ve made a difference!
How do you see your relationship with YBA developing in the coming years?
I will absolutely continue to volunteer. I’ve already signed up to do more mock interviews. And I loved being a judge at YBA’s Summer Camp this past June. We need to teach students how to get what they want to help get them to their next step. And of course, keep it positive and uplifting!