CRANE – Brenda Mathias has donated to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) since the day she became a federal employee. It has always been important and meaningful to her to contribute to the largest workplace charity campaign, so much so that she served as the lead CFC Keyworker when she worked in the Comptroller Department at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane).
When Mathias was approached about taking on the role of CFC coordinator for all of NSWC Crane, it was a no-brainer. Despite her responsibilities as manager for both the Onboarding and Mentoring programs, Mathias eagerly jumped at the opportunity to take on an even bigger role in NSWC Crane's CFC efforts.
Under Mathias' leadership, NSWC Crane's CFC participation nearly doubled from 5.4 percent in 2015 to 10.1 percent in 2016. NSWC Crane raised a total of $137,215 last year – the most since 2012 – and every single department at Crane increased their participation in 2016.
"When I look at that, I don't see dollar amounts. What I see is the lives that were changed," Mathias said. "I see the face of a kid smiling because he didn't have to go to bed hungry. I see meals for homebound people. I see pet supplies for local animal shelters. I see scientists who are helping cure cancer because of the CFC campaign.”
Mathias' success as NSWC Crane's CFC coordinator stems from her caring nature, but also from her creative and innovative approach to the role. She thinks outside the box and, with the support of Crane's Executive Leadership Team, comes up with ideas that make giving to the CFC both fun and rewarding.
An example came in January when NSWC Crane Commanding Officer, Captain JT Elder, agreed to kiss a pig if Crane's CFC participation exceeded 10 percent.
"CAPT Elder is such an approachable leader, and he's very passionate about the CFC as well," Mathias said. "CAPT Elder allowed me to try fresh ideas, something new, something fun. Without the support of leadership, I don't think it would have happened.
"If you can make it fun and exciting, people get involved. Once they get involved, they realize we're not just having fun here, we're actually helping people change lives. That's what it truly is about – it's helping others."
As a result of her significant efforts and contributions, Mathias was nominated for the 2016 Hero of the Year award, given annually by the Office of Personnel Management to the campaign's unsung heroes who made significant differences and demonstrated leadership qualities in their campaign.
"I didn't reach these goals alone. I don’t want the spotlight to be on me," Mathias said. "I want it to be on the real heroes, those employees that dug deep into their pockets to make it happen. I couldn't do it without all the help from CAPT Elder all the way down to the person that could give a dollar per pay period. This was a total team effort."
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.