Young Executives Catch the Vision
August 3rd, 2018
DLC’s Young Executives bring the center’s mission and message to a younger generation through advocacy, awareness, and fundraising.
Allison Durian says she thinks she was born with philanthropy in her blood.
“I was fortunate to grow up in Naples,” she says, “and my parents always reminded me how lucky I was—and how important it is to give back.”
A life of volunteering—through church youth group, at school, and in college, with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and St. Matthew’s House—eventually resulted in Durian becoming one of the first leaders of the David Lawrence Center Young Executives program.
“When I became a professional, I wanted to continue doing charity work and volunteerism,” says Durian, who adds that her “words to live by” come from Micah 6:8: “Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.” The Young Executives (YE) are a group of young professionals who advocate for mental health and substance misuse awareness. They are dedicated to supporting the mission and vision of David Lawrence Center, and are active in fundraising for the Center. Last year alone, they raised $27,000 through a variety of events throughout the year.
The idea for YE came from DLC’s forward-thinking leadership; they were concerned that their message and mission weren’t reaching the next generation. They recruited Durian and a few other young executives in their 20s and 30s, and the program was born in 2010.
“DLC was the first non-profit in our community to recognize the need for a next-generation advocacy group,” says Durian. “Now just about every charity in town has one.”
Durian, Naples Winter Wine Festival Associate Director, chaired YE’s board before passing the torch to Priscylla Oliva in July 2018.
Oliva, an Executive Administrative Assistant at Barron Collier Companies, says she first became aware of DLC’s “tremendous impact” at a GAIN presentation in 2016.
“I was immediately intrigued and joined the board a few months later,” she says. “I’m so glad I got involved. I think DLC’s work is as important as ever—just turn on the news or look at social media. Mental illness and substance abuse is everywhere.
“I have family members who battle mental illness and substance abuse. As I grew older, I realized it wasn’t just my family fighting these battles. It was my friends and their families and their friends and their families. Mental illness and substance abuse do not discriminate.”
The YE board includes seven young professionals and a DLC staff advisor, all under the age of 40. They represent a variety of professions, including law, finance, real estate, non-profit, fitness, and more. The board is currently looking for additional members (Click here to learn more about becoming a YE member and the benefits of being one)
The group’s next major event is its annual “Chip in for DLC” golf fundraiser, which will be held on October 26.
Other YE events held throughout the year include:
- An annual Sunset Cruise in June aboard the Naples Princess
- An “Elevate Wellness Series,” which are themed around fitness and health activities and held once each quarter. Examples of Elevate events include yoga on the beach, fitness boot camp, and cooking classes.
- The next Friendraiser, “Trivia Night: Through the Decades” will be held on September 13th from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature trivia on mental health and pop culture.