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People who make a difference – Ginelle Hussin

Volunteer, mentor – Junior Achievement, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, United Way Born Learning trails

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December 28, 2022

GREEN BAY – Ginelle Hussin said she has always made it a priority to make a difference in her community. 

It wasn’t until she received Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s (NWTC) 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award that she said she realized how much of an impact she has made. 

The 1996 NWTC graduate said her passion to give back started while she was in the college’s architecture program, where – at the time – being a woman in her field was nearly unheard of.

“It took a lot of courage to ask questions and be a little more curious than maybe others in the classroom,” she said. “I was always encouraged and inspired by other classmates and teachers at NWTC, which I would say built that foundation to say, ‘Yeah, I am empowered to be different and be unique within the industry.’”

It was these experiences, Hussin said, that helped shape her – both personally and professionally.

Inspiring the next generation
After graduation, Hussin said she began working at The Boldt Company as a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) drafter, where volunteering was encouraged.

“(They were) pioneers in giving back to the community, allowing us employees to feel empowered to do that,” she said. “No one ever told you that you had to give your nights away, or they didn’t say you had to volunteer, but they certainly gave exposure to it.”

Hussin said the confidence she obtained through the opportunities Boldt provided her, sparked a passion inside of her to do what she could to inspire the next generation.

Through the creation of a college-level internship program, she said she was able to create “robust, virtual cycles of mutual benefits.”

Hussin said this involved working with the operations department to identify roles that needed to be filled within the company and ensuring those full-time roles were filled in the future with interns. 

“I was able to get everyone’s mind thinking, ‘How do we make sure this is something that keeps creating?’” she said. “As well as, ‘How do we listen to the students? What motivates them?’ Because a lot of times, you have great leaders who are 10, 15, 20 years out of school, but they don’t know exactly what those students are motivated by.”

Hussin said she also encouraged the interns to work together and build relationships by doing weekly huddles, as well as participating in community activities as a group, such as building United Way Born Learning trails – an engagement campaign that helps turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. 

If her interns were able to see that “the sky’s the limit,” she said she helped make an impact.

The engineer said she also works with a high school youth apprenticeship program sponsored through the State of Wisconsin – that provides students with hands-on experiences.

Hussin said the program helped build stronger relationships with local high schools, and allowed students to “explore (opportunities) versus looking for their next job.”

“It’s exploratory for juniors and seniors in high school to come in and build those work skills,” she said.

Ginelle Hussin said receiving the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award caused her to reflect on how the work she was doing within the community was making a difference. Submitted Photo

Hussin is also involved with the Junior Achievement program, which is focused on visiting elementary school classrooms at various times throughout the school year to help inspire students to take their education seriously and strive to be good citizens.
“What I loved most about the experience, is you could see anywhere from kindergartners to fifth graders buy into seeing me in my hard hat and being a construction worker as a girl,” she said. “And then being able to plant seeds to them… for me that was extremely fulfilling.”

Hussin said the support she received at The Boldt Company in regards to volunteering and giving back is the same she is now experiencing at Georgia-Pacific where she now works as a vision alignment leader.

“(It’s) awesome working within an organization that has core values around stewardship, self-actualization and fulfillment around who I am as a person,” she said. 

Being able to find that at The Boldt Company and now at Georgia-Pacific, Hussin said, is encouraging.

The importance of giving back
Hussin said there are several reasons why giving back has become important to her, first and foremost being her parents. 

“My parents had us volunteering and giving at church and all those kinds of things,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to end up in an organization that lives by those values.”
Hussin said organizations, such as NWTC, Boldt or Georgia-Pacific, have led her to understand the importance of giving back comes from being able to share her story as a woman who “put those steel-toed boots on” and worked in a “different industry,” as well as just having the privilege to be able to give back.

“We’re fortunate to live in the Northeast Wisconsin area, just due to everything it has to offer,” she said. “It’s a safer place and a flourishing community.”

Hussin said she also pushes others – especially the students she works with – to recognize the importance of giving back to their community through work such as the United Way Born Learning trails or teaching them the importance of donating to an important cause.

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award
Hussin said receiving NWTC’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award allowed her to pause, look back and reflect on the work she has accomplished for her community, “and then being able to feel like, ‘Wow, this made a difference.’” 

“It was about feeling honored for being recognized for paving the way that others helped me with,” she said.

The award recipient said receiving the award would not have been made possible without those throughout Northeast Wisconsin who supported her and her family.

“I’m a female in construction,” she said. “I’m a mom with three kids. I have a very supportive husband. Given the time and resources I needed to be a mom, I think, is a huge accolade in being part of winning the award of distinguished alumni.”

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