Then She Met Alice

How one volunteer opportunity catalyzed a much deeper commitment to local social good

What does a successful life look like? 

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It might look like Erika, a Chief Marketing Officer at a growing tech company who was both the youngest person—and the only female—on the executive team. She was also a new mom with a healthy baby girl and supportive husband. But behind the scenes was a much darker story: Erika was quietly battling postpartum depression and anxiety. 

Over time and through therapy she grew stronger. Yet her healing journey wasn’t an easy one as she struggled with unfamiliar emotions and an overwhelming realization that she was unable to protect her new family from life’s unexpected tragedies. Eventually she came to a personal resolution: even though she couldn’t control the curve balls that life brings, she could and would work toward balance by putting more good into the world. 

It was at that point that Erika turned to SHARE Charlotte, which runs on the Share Good software platform. Once there, she quickly connected with The Relatives. As an organization that serves youth in crisis, they were looking for a compassionate volunteer to lead a support group for pregnant young women. 

Raising her hand as a volunteer wasn’t easy. Erika felt both unprepared and terrified. But determined to make a positive impact on the world that her tiny daughter would grow up in, she arrived for her first session. 

That’s when she met Alice. 

Young and eight months pregnant with twins, Alice was living at a pregnancy shelter but facing homelessness once her babies were delivered. Her bed at the shelter would be needed by someone else and Alice was unable to afford an apartment even with the income from her job. The wrenching image of a mother desperately trying to provide a firm foundation for her children struck Erika to her core. She realized at that moment she was exactly where she needed to be. 

Three years later, Erika’s journey is far from over. She still volunteers with The Relatives, listening to and supporting the young women who entrust their stories to her. Over the years her deepening knowledge of the community has led her to connect with and serve other local nonprofits as well. She describes her experiences as “transformational” and now fully embraces a strong sense of purpose in not only her volunteer roles, but in her professional life as Share Good’s first employee and head of product —all while she lives perhaps her most “successful” life so far.

Erika Carney