This week’s Leadership in Action series features Hunter Thomson, Market Leader in CBI’s Knoxville and Chattanooga locations. Over the last year, Hunter has played an instrumental role in leading CBI’s Knoxville and Chattanooga Teams and building relationships with clients and partners in these areas. Hunter’s strong passion for community and giving back, paired with his innate leadership ability, exemplifies CBI’s Live Love Serve Philosophy – the idea that it is our duty to love and serve all individuals that God places into our lives.
We talked to Hunter about the organizations he is involved in outside of the office and learned more about why it’s important to him to give back to his local community. Keep reading below to learn Hunter’s story.
Q: What is your involvement within the community?
Hunter: I have lived in Knoxville for a long time, and over the years, I’ve been lucky to serve a variety of wonderful community and industry organizations. Currently, there are three primary groups that I share my time with – Shoreline Church of Knoxville, The Knoxville Fellows and The Emerald Youth Foundation.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about your involvement with each of these organizations.
Hunter: My wife and I are members of Shoreline Church of Knoxville which has been a fantastic experience for us. The mission of Shoreline Church is to be a source of life, renewal and intimate encounters with God for its members. My wife and I are both very strong in our faith, and the Shoreline mission is one we have taken on as our own. We both give our time to Shoreline on a regular basis supporting the core values of the Church which include developing leaders in the Church and in the marketplace, supporting and leading small group sessions for other Church members and loving and serving each other and our community.
Q: What about The Knoxville Fellows?
Hunter: The Knoxville Fellows is an interesting organization that I’ve become involved with more recently. Our mission is to increase God-principled leadership in Knoxville by equipping and developing the next generation of servant leaders to seek the peace of our city.
The Knoxville Fellows program is all encompassing and offers participants a 10-month living opportunity in the heart of the city with a weekly work and class schedule. Prior to beginning the program, participants (Fellows) work with their mentors to find a job that suits their education, passions and strengths. Each week the Fellows are also responsible for taking graduate level courses through Johnson University to enhance their knowledge and future career paths. In addition to these work and study commitments, the Fellows are expected to serve in various ministries throughout the city and take part in ten spiritual retreats throughout the year.
Q. Wow what a great concept. How do you give your time to The Knoxville Fellows?
Hunter: I am paired up with a student in The Fellows program who I mentor on a weekly basis. We meet to talk about life, school, his job and his future aspirations. I also act as a resource for my student and try to help him make connections that will benefit him throughout his career. For example, my student is considering going to medical school. He had questions about what it was like and what would be required to do so. I was able to connect him with a good friend of mine who is a doctor and they had a great conversation about the pros and cons of the field. I really enjoy my time working with The Knoxville Fellows because it makes me feel like I am positively impacting the next generation. There is no better feeling than that.
Q: You’re right, there is no better feeling than impacting a person’s life in a positive way! Now tell us about The Emerald Youth Foundation.
Hunter: The Emerald Youth Foundation is an awesome non-profit in Knoxville committed to raising up and supporting the city’s urban youth to love and know Jesus Christ and become effective leaders who help renew their communities. The Emerald Youth Foundation serves more than 2,300 inner city youth through coaching, mentoring, providing after school support and study partners, career ministry and more. This organization has become near and dear to our hearts at CBI Knoxville and in addition to me, many of our employees have given their time to volunteer here.
Q: That’s fantastic that the CBI team comes together occasionally to support The Emerald Youth Foundation. What have you done most recently as a group to support the organization?
Hunter: Our office recently took a day to go serve at The Emerald Youth Christmas Store. Each year the Emerald Youth Foundation serves more than 400 city children and their families by operating a Christmas Store stocked with donated items that gives parents of children connected to our ministry the opportunity to purchase gifts at a deeply discounted rate. The Emerald Youth Christmas Store makes it possible for many children within our community to experience the joy of opening gifts on Christmas Day when they otherwise might not have had the chance. The CBI Team and I recently spent some time in the store wrapping and organizing gifts for purchase and connecting with The Emerald Youth Foundation Team. We had a great time and we all enjoyed the experience.
Q: What a great way to get into the holiday spirit! So, tell us, why do you think it’s important to give back?
Hunter: My spiritual, personal and professional lives all include the core value of loving and serving others, and I’m truly grateful for that. As a Christian, I have been taught from a young age that we exist to serve and help those in need, and as an adult this has become second nature to me. I’m so happy to work for CBI, a company that embraces these same ideas and supports community involvement from its Associates. I also love the way our team continuously comes together to support the greater Knoxville area. We will never stop giving our time, talent and treasure to the city and its people that we love so much.
We are honored to feature Hunter in this week’s Leadership in Action series and know he will continue to exhibit the Live Love Serve Philosophy in Knoxville. Learn more about Shoreline Church, The Knoxville Fellows and The Emerald Youth Foundation and consider supporting them at some point this holiday season.
Our Leadership in Action series is published regularly on the CBI blog and shares the stories of CBI Associates who exemplify our Live Love Serve Philosophy. Stay tuned for our next story on Monday, January 10.