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Our Chief People Officer Strives to Leave the World Better Than She Found It

By Hannah Payne on November 19, 2019

Amy Lewis is relatively new to the Rise Against Hunger staff, starting as the organization’s Chief People Officer this past summer. In the short time she’s been with the organization, she’s already experienced a lot.

Amy began working for Rise Against Hunger in July 2019. “My first day was the day of the staff retreat,” she says. “It was the best way to start.” She explains that beginning her time with the staff retreat provided her with a unique, great way to begin her time with the organization. She was able to learn a lot about the organization very quickly, and she also was able to see how the staff engaged with our mission to end hunger by 2030. “[The retreat] really re-energizes or energizes us to carry out the mission.”

The staff retreat was memorable for her in more ways than one. Not only was it the beginning of her employment, but it also began with an experience so special to her that it’s her favorite Rise Against Hunger memory to date. On her first day, when she didn’t know anyone and had yet to meet anyone, the organization’s founder was one of the first people she saw. “I walked in the door, I go over by the elevator to go upstairs and I see Ray Buchanan,” she says. “I recognized him from his picture on the website, but I had never met him. I was shocked when I first saw him!” Amy decided she wasn’t going to let an opportunity like this go, so she walked up and said “You must be Ray Buchanan. I’m Amy Lewis.”

What happened next was something she didn’t expect and something that left her speechless. “Before I could say one more word, he said ‘Oh my goodness, you’re our new Chief People Officer!’ He then just wrapped his arms around me and hugged me. He said “We have been waiting for you. We are so glad that you are here and I am just so happy that you have joined Rise Against Hunger.'”

Given her position as Chief People Officer, she knows it sounds a bit cliché to say the people are her favorite part, but it’s the truth. “We have a really passionate, talented group of people. I know it may sound like I’m supposed to say that because of my role, but I truly mean it.”

The people of Rise Against Hunger are indeed important to her because of her role, too. She leads and directs the people operations team and sets the People Operations strategy for Rise Against Hunger. How those responsibilities translate to her day-to-day tasks varies. One minute she could be recruiting, the next handling an employee relations matter, and the next providing the People Operations perspective in a board meeting. She explains, “In my role, I’m a champion for change and culture, always using an employee lens.”

For Amy, that employee lens is critical for the organization. “The organization doesn’t exist without its people,” she says. “The people are the organization, so we have to make sure we’re taking care of the people so they can take care of our beneficiaries.” Therefore, Amy’s role, and the roles of the entire People Operations team, are vital to Rise Against Hunger’s mission to end world hunger. Amy explains, “Without our people, we can’t strive for what we’re trying to do.”

Amy says the organization is a “perfect match” for her. Both the mission and what was needed in the role connected with her experience and strengths. The role aligns with her personal values and desire to make the world a better place, too. “It’s my calling to use my strengths and talents to make a positive impact on this world, to leave it better than I found it.”

Ray’s sincerity really mattered to Amy. “It made me feel very welcomed and needed by the organization,” she says.

In addition to her interaction with Ray, Amy has quickly learned that her favorite part of Rise Against Hunger is the people. She says, “I have not met a single person yet who is not just absolutely passionate and selfless and willing to give more of themselves than they may ever get back. I love working alongside and with those kinds of people.”

If you relate to Amy and feel a calling to make a positive impact, check out our Careers page for full-time and part-time opportunities!