Volunteer Team Leader Dr. Mindy Lull (top left above) participated in her first service program in 2014 and has served every summer since. She first traveled with a group of pharmacy students to the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. She later completed Team Leader Training to become a Team Leader. She has brought additional groups of students on Global Volunteers trips every year since — participating on programs in Peru, Tanzania, and on additional programs to the Blackfeet Reservation. As Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York Mindy focuses on Global Health education and outreach. She’s also a member of Global Volunteers’ Board of Directors and RCP Advisory Committee. She shares a bit of her experience with Global Volunteers here.
How did you come to start volunteering with Global Volunteers and then begin leading teams?
In graduate school, I went on my first overseas service program. It was a life-altering experience for me, and I decided that when I became a faculty member, I wanted to make sure to help other students get the opportunity to travel and use their professional skills to give back. In 2013, that led me to Global Volunteers and I’ve never looked back. I started organizing teams of graduate Pharmacy students that year, and have brought teams to Montana, Peru, and/or Tanzania almost every year since. In 2017, I decided that I might want to do more than accompany my teams on programs – maybe I could lead them and others as well!
What compels you to lead teams for Global Volunteers?
I really enjoy the team building and community relationships that result from being a team leader. I love going back to the same community year after year, and having the responsibility to not only have a good experience, but to make sure that teams have a great experience. I have met so many wonderful people on teams, but that just gets better when I lead them!
What is one of your favorite parts of your role as team leader?
This may sound a little silly, but I love the organization and the “game” of it. I am a very organized person, and it is great fun for me to try to fit all the pieces together and stay organized. I also love challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone – team leading is very different from my day job as a college professor!
Why do you recommend a Global Volunteers service program?
For me, I chose Global Volunteers because of their philosophy of service. I 100% believe that working WITH the community, under their direction, and on the projects they identify, is the key to sustainable and meaningful development. It also takes the experience beyond the norm, and allows for true development of relationships. I love talking about my passion for this philosophy with prospective volunteers – because I often find that they are looking for the same type of experience.
“I am a very organized person, and it is great fun for me to try to fit all the pieces together and stay organized. I also love challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone – team leading is very different from my day job as a college professor!”– Mindy Lull, Volunteer Team Leader
What is your favorite place to serve and lead teams? If you can pick just one.
I have (so far) only led teams to Montana, although I have served on programs in Peru and Tanzania as well. The Blackfeet, and the friends I have met on the Reservation, hold a special place in my heart, and my year feels incomplete without at least one week there.
What is one of your favorite memories from volunteer service?
There are too many to choose from! One of the wonderful things about team leading is that I have at least one amazingly impactful memory from every team I’ve been on. However, as a team leader, I can’t show favorites! I will say that the most impactful experiences to me are when I have been invited to observe or participate in something that is very special to the community. Every time that I get to attend the Sun Dance ceremony, or a sweat lodge, I feel so grateful to be trusted and welcomed into the community.
What can you say to people who are thinking about joining a service program for the first time?
Try it!! It is such a great way to see the world while doing good. Your travel experience will be richer and more memorable when paired with service. It may seem scary, but you will not regret a minute of it!
“The most impactful experiences to me are when I have been invited to observe or participate in something that is very special to the community. Every time that I get to attend the Sun Dance ceremony, or a sweat lodge, I feel so grateful to be trusted and welcomed into the community.”– Mindy Lull, Volunteer Team Leader
What Volunteers Have Said About Mindy
“Mindy did a great job before and during the program. Very responsive, excellent organizer, great communicator, comfortable to interact with, engaging, took care of us and clarified our roles – great leader.” – Bill Lent, Montana volunteer
“Mindy is the type of leader any volunteer (prospective, new, veteran) hopes to get. She is thoughtful, organized, punctual and enthusiastic. Her leadership style works well with kids and adults – she helps everyone contribute meaningfully.” – Nathan Platte, Montana volunteer
“Mindy was a wonderful team leader. She was well prepared, does a great job of facilitating teamwork. Very knowledgeable and kind. She works well with young adults.” – Josh Gallagher, Montana volunteer and group coordinator
“Mindy was an exceptional team leader, exceeding my every expectation. Her communication and organizational skills greatly enhanced this experience and she facilitated amazing team cohesion and bonding. Very impressed by her work and positive energy.” – Diane Platte, Montana volunteer
Mindy Off the Clock
Mindy grew up on a small farm in rural upstate New York. “Although it is still my favorite place to be, I have always loved seeing and experiencing all the world has to offer,” she says. Mindy has lived in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and currently lives close to St. John Fisher College in Rochester with her puppy and two cats. She volunteers with a number of different causes and organizations in New York. Currently, she is a member of the Penfield, New York Rotary Club, which, she says, allows her to give back to the community she lives in. She also serves on the board of directors for the Genesee Land Trust – helping to protect the outdoor spaces that she loves so much.
In her free time, Mindy likes to do anything outdoors. Whether on a trip or near home, she loves hiking and kayaking in particular. She has also recently been revitalizing the family farm with her sisters and parents, and has been enjoying working on the farm with her sheep! If it’s too rainy/cold/hot to be out, Mindy says you can usually find her on the couch with a good book.
To join a team under Mindy’s leadership, chat with a program expert now.