For the past two years, Ocea Wynn has served as the United Way Suncoast campaign coordinator, with the help of her Executive Aide, Kimberly Bogush, for the City of Tampa. She leads the effort for approximately 4,500 employees.
“The most thrilling aspect of leading for me has been experiencing first-hand the joy many employees have about giving for the first time. I’ve also had the privilege of visiting many partner non-profit organizations and agencies to see how collectively our dollars stretch to meet the needs of the community.”
When she was hired by the City of Tampa in 2005, Ocea was exposed to her first campaign season. Since then, she has been an avid contributor and organizer. She also takes part in Women United through outreach to local public elementary and high school students by reading to K-2 students and teaching ethics workshops to teens. “Students in the low socioeconomic communities do not regularly see someone who can relate to them by race or gender. So, it’s rewarding to see how they are standoffish at the beginning of our encounters, but by the end of our meeting they are thoroughly engaged. One student was able to get a better paying job by applying several of the techniques she learned during the ethics workshop.”
There have been many memorable fundraisers that Ocea can remember since she first became involved with the United Way Suncoast campaign, but one of the most memorable was the “1st Annual Jazzy Thanksgiving Lunch in the Park” fundraiser. The Thanksgiving themed lunch was catered by a local chef, and food was served on white cloth-covered table tops while Saxophonist Sam Allen and the accompanying Blake High School Jazz Band serenaded attendees. Early bird tickets were $10 and regular tickets were $13.50. The downtown park was transformed into an outdoor ballroom atmosphere and the fundraiser enjoyed great success.
What inspires Ocea to support United Way Suncoast is seeing first-hand where and how change is happening in the community because of United Way-led initiatives. “United Way Suncoast is not only here to serve the community, but to advocate and advance the community through ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) awareness. Most of us know someone who falls into the ALICE category. By supporting United Way Suncoast, we will be improving the economic conditions where we live, which will impact surrounding communities. If everyone does something, a lot can be accomplished.”
We thank Ocea and Kimberly for their great work on their campaign, and for their continued dedication and advocacy to United Way Suncoast.