Five Big Ways Target Team Members Champion Civic Activity in Their Communities

November 1, 2016 - Article reads in
Team members taking part in community projects

As Election Day approaches, interest in civic activity opportunities is on the rise. Many are looking for ways to personally get involved in community projects they care about or share their voices with local officials—but may be looking for some inspiration.  

At Target, we want to be active citizens and valued neighbors in each of the communities where we do business, and we take part in civic activity all year long. Our team members across the country are our greatest ambassadors—working with local nonprofit organizations, civic and community partners as volunteers and advisors. They also work with local elected officials from both political parties on policies that will improve our business and communities.

At our Minneapolis headquarters, Target’s Citizens Council hosts regular events where team members can join in conversations about issues they care about. We bring in elected officials and experts as speakers, host bipartisan candidate town halls and lead informational sessions about how to caucus or serve as an election judge. One way our team stays informed is through the Citizens@Target website—check it out for resources to help you get involved in civic activity, share your voice, and find local projects that matter most to you.

We’re proud to see so many of our team members stepping up and using their talents to make a difference in their communities. Meet just a few of them and check out the work they’re doing:

Lovejeet and three team members on the steps at City Hall

Lovejeet Aujla, Executive Team Leader, Human Resources (HR), California

She gets involved: Through advocacy efforts in her community, in partnership with Target’s Government Affairs team, helping lawmakers understand Target’s stance on local issues.

Recent project: Sharing her perspectives as an HR expert with lawmakers at City Hall and the California State Capital on why restrictive scheduling laws in both San Francisco's Formula Retail Workers Bill of Rights and at the State Legislature would create more problems for employees than it would solve. “At Target, it’s my responsibility to work closely with my team and ensure that we post a fair schedule for them every week, based on their needs. A restrictive scheduling law that monitors and regulates practices would actually hinder our efforts to maintain a positive, open-door relationship between our leaders and our team.”

On sharing her expertise: “I explained in my testimony that we have HR team members in every Target store to take care of our individual teams. For example, the legislation would take away my ability to proactively suggest a team member take additional time off if I’m sensing an imbalance in their work and personal life; it would also prevent me from letting a team member stay longer, even if I know they want more hours. So while the law is meant to protect workers, it really doesn’t in the end—it creates a ‘middle man’ where there doesn’t need to be one.”

Favorite part of serving: “Speaking up on behalf of the team members I represent on a daily basis, and sharing my work with other Target leaders doing similar lobbying work in other areas of the United States.”

Brian Blesi at his desk, behind him, the text Saint Croix Falls, Gateway to the Scenic Wild River.

Brian Blesi, Technical Lead, Property Management, Wisconsin

He gets involved: As the mayor of St. Croix Falls, Wisc., a position he juggles along with his day job at Target headquarters. He’s held the position since 2012, and was a City Council member before that.

Ran for Mayor because: “I wanted to support my community and take my turn as a leader.”

On challenges of holding a public office: “Around the time I ran for mayor, the city needed to reconstruct a waste water treatment plant—a pretty major issue. Through my career in environmental sciences and facility management at Target (I support the stores and sales by keeping the water flowing in and the waste flowing out), I had knowledge of water and sewer systems, water pollution regulations, facility operation and expense planning. That experience came in handy managing the project. The plant opened in 2015, dramatically reducing phosphorous emissions to the St. Croix River—a very big deal.”

Favorite part of serving: Working with great people who love what they do and sincerely want the best for each other. “Our city is a beautiful area, and there are groups that are passionate about so many things … their neighborhoods, schools, businesses, parks, and so much more. I enjoy working with people who care deeply for our community.” 

Kelly (right) with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Kelly McGarrity, Store Team Leader, New York

She gets involved: By leading our volunteers, coordinating projects at stores throughout her district and working with Target’s government affairs team to connect with local partners and elected officials.

What the work looks like: “Our team volunteers in all of the boroughs and Long Island. For example, we've worked with Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams (pictured above with Kelly) to support a number of events for families focused on inclusivity and wellness. Like a ‘Brooklyn Day’ health and wellness event for the community we held on a day when kids were off school. There was a hula hoop station and other fun encouraging physical activity, healthy food booths, screening stations, meetups with national sports players and more. My goal for next year is to get even more of our borough partners and leaders involved in similar events.”

On inspiring teams to volunteer: “This year, we took part in Brooklyn’s International Day of Friendship, a celebration of diversity. During the parade, our team members carried flags from several different countries where they were born. Guests loved seeing them and even stopped by our store later to say hi. Next year, we’ll have team members representing all 150 flags in the parade.”

On the need for teamwork: “Through my works I’ve learned that giving is about more than just money—it’s also donating time, talent and effort through volunteerism and coordination with other organizations. When you all come together, you can create so many powerful things for the community.”

Lloyd in his military uniform

Lloyd Felix, Grocery Director, Colorado

He gets involved: As a member of a working group assembled by the governor of Colorado to help shape new legislation around retail liquor laws in his state. “Representing Target, it’s important to be a responsible partner and approach things in a way that’s mindful of the effect these new laws could have on everyone involved, from large and small businesses to the community, nearby schools and more.” The project just kicked off, but Lloyd is already excited to get the conversations started.

Inspired to serve: By his parents, Wellington and Valerie Felix. “I’m the son of immigrants, who taught me at a young age the importance of earning your keep and taking advantage of the ‘American Dream.’ That led me to my military service and later, to business and my interest in civic activity. Serving our country showed me how important it is to participate in other electoral processes and keep voting safe and accessible for all.”

You’ll also find him: Rallying the Target team to serve in the community, and volunteering on his own time. “I’m especially proud to be a part of the Junior Achievement Program in Denver, helping middle school and high school kids walk through decisions they have to make now and understand how those decisions might impact them later in life.”

A head-and-shoulders shot of Kate Mohan

Kate Mohan, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Minnesota

She’s getting involved: As an election judge, for the first time this year in her hometown of Medina, Minn. “On Nov. 8, Election Day, I’ll be part of the morning shift at my polling place, greeting voters, checking them in and helping them with anything else they need.”

Inspired to serve: By her mom, who was an election judge for years—and her background in international development. “I’ve been to countries where people were fighting wars for the right to vote. So it puzzles me that so many Americans choose not to vote when that very fight for representation was the founding moment for our country.”

How she’s preparing: She’s already taken part in a half-day of training with her group. “The process is very specific; everything has to be done a certain way. And I won’t know until that day what my exact role will be.”

Looking forward to: working with other election judges to make sure everything goes smoothly. “At each polling place, the rule is there must be equal party representation among the judges (example: three Republicans and three Democrats) to make sure everything’s fair. In the current political environment, learning to work ‘across the aisle’ with other representatives is so important to ensure a peaceful exercise. I’m proud to take part in this historic 240-year-old process.”

Check out more of the ways Target team members are sharing their voices through civic activity in their communities. Getting ready to head to the polls next week? Hear more about our founding partnership with Democracy Works, Inc., on the TurboVote Challenge, to help achieve 80 percent voter turnout in the U.S. by the year 2020.

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