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18 ways your colleagues lead purposeful lives + how you can join them

We asked what keeps you feeling fulfilled in addition to your role at Stanford. Your responses reflect a collective desire to create, discover, and do more with your time.
Staff pose with donations to the Cardinal at Work Cares event.

In August 2022, we shared the story of Stanford’s very own actor-slash-auditor Ranjita Chakravarty, and we asked you to tell us how you blend your passions and work as Ranjita does.

Your uplifting responses reaffirm that many of you are active and caring people who are engaged in the world in which you live and that you value having time away from work for other pursuits. (Interestingly, a number of the responses also highlighted how often your relationship to Stanford is the springboard to your other pursuits.) 

Here’s a summary of what you told us.

Taking care of body and mind

For many, there is a focus on physical and emotional health through activities such as rowing on a crew team, golfing at Stanford Golf Course, and cooking with family. 

Mary Kim, Cardinal Course program coordinator in the Haas Center for Public Service, moonlights as a substitute violinist with the San Francisco Symphony, lending her talents to classical and educational concerts, movies set to live orchestra, and more.

Ashley Eberle, talent development specialist in University HR, was inspired to try woodworking after Stanford’s Designing Your Life for Women program helped her brainstorm meaningful pursuits outside of work. Now, nearly every day, she works on this new craft. “I’m obsessed with it,” she says. “I’ve worked on some small projects using my apartment patio table as a workbench…. It’s the only hobby I’ve ever done that gives me the same sense of ‘flow’ as work where I’m focused and engaged.”

Taking care of others

The majority of responses provide a glimpse into a collective drive to volunteer. Stanford employees are involved in their children’s school communities, church communities, and Stanford’s religious communities. They manage feral cat sites, do volunteer crafting, coordinate social media or fundraising for non-profits, and help distribute food to families who need it. (Notably, more than 100 staff also volunteered for Stanford's New Undergraduate Student Move-In Day this year.) 

Jennifer DiGrande, director of direct marketing in the Office of Development, volunteers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “Because my children were both born premature and my daughter was born at Stanford, I love supporting families with children in the hospital,” she says.

Making the world a better place

Many others are doing their part to help humankind: serving as a “Cool Block” captain, in a city-wide initiative to fight climate change block by block; hosting a radio show called The Rundown to spread awareness of human trafficking and crimes against children; and hosting international exchange students. “Working with exchange students has opened my world culturally,” says Lisa Lagrimas, administrative associate in Environmental Health & Safety. “I am so thankful that I have an opportunity to pass peace forward.”

Share your purpose: Cardinal at Work Cares event returns

Since 2016, thousands of Stanford employees have participated in University HR’s Cardinal at Work Cares, which started as a donation drive for personal care items with care package assembly events. In 2020, organizers moved to a virtual event, collecting acts of kindness through a digital platform to highlight the many ways we took care of each other during the pandemic.

Save the date!

In 2022, the Cardinal at Work Cares virtual portal will once again allow you to log your acts of kindnessfrom Nov. 1 to 18to show the scale of our collective impact and inspire each other. Additionally, University HR is partnering with Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service for their What Do You StandFor campaign; you can share your acts of kindness on social media using the hashtag (#SUStandFor).

Find more information and ideas on the Cardinal at Work Cares page

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