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Office Doors: Latasha Causey
For Latasha Causey, being a philanthropist is just who she is.
As the director of operations for USAA in Phoenix, her role includes creating volunteer opportunities for its 4,000 employees, but even before her time at USAA, she always knew she wanted to be part of a company that prioritized community.
“I always wanted to work at an organization that had a service base to it,” Causey said. “You know, making sure you’re working for something bigger than yourself and not just going to work and it’s about making money.”
This mindset was instilled in Causey early on by her parents, who encouraged her to be active in their church and always do something for others, even if they didn’t have much themselves.
“My Dad worked at UPS for over 30 years so there was just this sense of you have to do something for someone else, because if you don’t life will be nothing, life won’t even be worth it — so that’s just how I was raised,” she said.
Through her church, Causey gained her first experiences giving back to the community, setting her up for a life of philanthropic efforts.
“I was always very involved in those youth programs and through those youth programs we always had a give back whether we were doing some sort of community service project,” she said. “We were always doing something for someone else.”
Her commitment to service continued at her first job in the human resources department of Charles Schwab, which she began at the young age of 16 through her high school’s DECA program. She continued to work at Charles Schwab through college, and admired the organization’s focus on giving back.
Now, Causey continues to help the community in several ways — one of which is by providing others with opportunities to do the same.
“My favorite thing about my role at USAA is really what I get to do in giving others opportunities,” she said.
This year, her team created 10,000 hours of volunteer opportunities for employees with a focus on connecting them to the causes they care most about.
Her role in the community doesn’t stop there either — she serves on the board of Teach for America, Ronald McDonald House, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and is a co-chair of Valley of the Sun United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.
These are causes she’s chosen because of her passion for education, love of children and role as a female leader.
“It’s about me and what I’m passionate about,” she said. “I’m super passionate about education. I’m a native, went through the public-school system, I have two children that have to go through the school system as well so if there’s anything I can ever do for education, because it takes the whole community, I want to be able to do that.”
Her passion for improving the community is something she hopes to pass on to her children — who she brings to several of her volunteer events.
“My kids have more than they ever need and they’re so fortunate,” she said. “My husband and I work very hard for them but we want to instill in them to just be good people, it doesn’t matter what you have, it can be taken away at any moment, you never know what your plan is, you could get hurt, who knows, so how about you help someone else?”
She can already see the changes her focus on giving back is having on them too, similar to the way her parents instilled a passion for community service into her.
She said her kids, ages six and ten, went from not looking forward to joining her at volunteer events, to asking when they’d be going back.
“I feel like I’m creating this giving heart in them, I hope they continue it when they get older, I don’t know if they will but I hope they do but I truly believe it’s creating who they are,” she said.
While Latasha doesn’t know what’s next for her career, or her philanthropic pursuits, she knows she wants to continue making an impact on the community.
“I won’t stop in the community,” she said.”That I do know.”