Meet Jessica Weiss: The Power of Volunteering and Giving Back
By Kelly Blackhurst, NFHCA Awards & Digital Communications Manager
Photo credit: Frank Straus
April is National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize and celebrate those who give their time and energy to make a positive impact in their communities. In honor of this month, we caught up with the inaugural recipients of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) President’s Service Award, recognizing their outstanding volunteer service in the field hockey community.
Meet Jessica Weiss, head field hockey coach at Randolph-Macon College and recipient of the 2023 NFHCA President’s Service Award, as she shares her journey towards volunteering, the multiple committees she has been a part of, and the valuable lessons she has learned while serving the NFHCA. Through her organized and process-oriented approach, as well as her heartwarming story about her first recruiting class, Jessica’s interview highlights the significant impact that volunteering can have on individuals and communities and encourages others to follow in her footsteps.
Q: Can you share an early memory of volunteering and how that sparked an interest to continue?
A: I’ve always been drawn to service opportunities, but in the early stages of my head coaching career, I wasn’t sure if I was a fit for certain committees and if I’d have the time. Many peers encouraged me, but I hadn’t taken the leap until I read the description of the newly formed Nominating Committee. It felt like it was right up my alley as I love collaborating with coaches and ensuring systems are run efficiently. Executive Director Cate Clark and Co-Chair Val Lohr spoke with me in late 2021, and the basis of that conversation has stuck with me. It really solidified that I would spend the rest of my coaching career finding ways to serve the NFHCA and my fellow coaches.
Q: You’ve volunteered a lot for the NFHCA! Tell us the various committees and groups you have been a part of.
A: I have been a member of the Nominating Committee since early 2021 and became the co-chair towards the end of that year. I also spent time serving on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference representative.
Q: What is one thing you learned about yourself while serving the NFHCA?
A: That my skill set and outlook, while unique, is valuable to others. I am hyper-organized and process-oriented, so I have come to really embrace that and love my behind-the-scenes role.
Q: Tell us in one sentence why others should volunteer within the NFHCA!
A: If all of us carry a little bit of weight, the overall load seems lighter, and our organization can continue moving in the direction we all want it to!
Q: What was a memorable stop along the way in your coaching journey?
A: It’s hard to choose just one moment, but I’d say the evolution of my first recruiting class as people. We went through a lot together as I was figuring out my first head coaching job, so having them walk onto the field for their first alumni game in the spring of 2022 beaming with excitement to be back, full of pride for the program, success stories to share and gratitude for their journey just really sticks out as a collective moment that will hold a piece of my heart forever.
We applaud Jessica Weiss for her exceptional service to the NFHCA. Stay tuned throughout the month as we will be profiling Kelsi Lykens and Laura-Ann Lane, the other two recipients of the 2023 President’s Award!
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The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the association is to champion, strengthen, and celebrate field hockey coaches and the game. The NFHCA strives to be the organization that every field hockey coach looks to for the resources to grow in the game and the inspiration to stay in the game.