Each fall at our Homecoming event, we honor the latest inductees into the VOX Hall of Fame. This year, we are excited to celebrate four members of the VOX community in this way, including Whitney Deal Marshall! She served as the Chair for the VOX Board of Directors and helped lead the way through our most recent strategic planning process. Whitney is pictured above on the right in the bottom row at our inaugural VOX Homecoming. Read on to hear from Whitney about her involvement with VOX.
How did you get involved with VOX? After my colleague and friend, Debbie Segal, got involved on the VOX board she asked me to participate in a strategic planning session that VOX was hosting. I attended and saw the teens actively involved in leading discussions, thoughtfully voicing their opinions, etc. and it made quite an impression. From that point forward, I remained connected to VOX and was asked to join the board at the end of Debbie’s term. I couldn’t have envisioned then that I would someday become Board Chair or help lead the organization through significant transitions or participate in another strategic planning process!
What’s your favorite memory from your time at VOX?
There are such a variety of memories to choose from, but one that stands out is being a part of the interview process to hire Susan Landrum in her first role at VOX. Rachel designed a very involved and very “VOX-y” process whereby the adults and teens actively worked together to interview our candidates. I was really struck by how thoughtful the teens were with their questions and their feedback and was, admittedly, surprised by how much I learned from them. It delights me to now see that Susan is leading the organization and it validates that the “VOX-y” process helped to identify a great fit for the organization for the long term.
Why is VOX important for teens?
Although there are more opportunities than ever for teens to express themselves, VOX provides a platform for expression that is unique, informed, thoughtful and safe. VOX also enables teens to meaningfully connect with their peers throughout metro Atlanta who they would otherwise would not have a chance to meet. I always loved coming to the newsroom and seeing kids from different races, schools, socioeconomic levels, etc. developing relationships and pushing each another to grow. The teens have a resource in the amazing adult staff at VOX who provide each of them with an unwavering source of support and skill development and the fact that it is offered to teens (free of charge!) also makes VOX critically important.
Why is VOX important for the community?
I am more impressed than ever by teens across the country who are responsibly, powerfully and impactfully shining a light on important issues and challenging adults to do better and be better. It is critical that organizations like VOX exist to create a safe space for teens to grow and learn but also help to ensure that our future leaders have a seat at the table as we the adults make decisions that will directly impact them.
What’s your hope for VOX’s future?
I have always hoped that every teen in metro Atlanta would be connected to VOX as either a staff member, contributor or consumer of content. That said, the sky’s the limit!
What three words would you use to describe VOX? Inclusive. Thought-provoking. Unique.