GSH Volunteer

With over 100 events a year, the GSH offers unparalleled opportunities to volunteer and
network with like-minded people.

Outstanding GSH Volunteer

The GSH would not be able to function were it not for the two paid staff that maintain the GSH office and support all of the GSH activities.  The staff, Kathy Sanvido and Karen Blakeman, are very dedicated to the GSH and often go beyond the call of duty to help ensure that our organization functions well in every aspect.  They both volunteer time and effort well beyond their paid time, and we want to recognize their volunteer efforts today.  In this article we will recognize Kathy; check last month to find out about Karen.

Kathy Sanvido was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the youngest of five children.  Kathy obtained a B.B.A. in marketing from the University of Houston (UofH) while working full time at one, and sometimes, two jobs.  One of those jobs was Purchasing Agent for Smith Industries, Inc.  While attending UofH, she also worked part time at MACRO Enterprises, Inc.  Even before completing her degree, Kathy advanced at MACRO to become the Marketing Director; there she was responsible for growth of the company resulting from marketing and outside sales of this custom software development firm.  She changed her employment to MapInfo Corporation, where she was a Marketing Representative responsible for managing a seven-state territory.  During this job she established a new company record for sales in that territory.  Kathy left MapInfo to assume an even bigger job, that of raising three boys (currently 23, 24, and 26 years of age).  While raising her sons, her aptitude for hard work translated into her becoming a volunteer leader at the boys' school and a Cub Scout leader for the boys.  Kathy was also a Board member of her Home Owners' Association.  Kathy's volunteer work at the school led to her being hired as the School Database Manager for the Salem Lutheran School, where she initiated and completed the modernization of the school's administration data to electronic form. 

Kathy's association with the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH) began when the GSH and Houston Geological Society (HGS) maintained their office together.  There she was the Website Manager for both organizations.  Soon after the GSH separated its office from the HGS, Kathy volunteered at night in helping Karen Blakeman organize the new GSH office.  Recognizing her indispensability, the GSH hired Kathy part time and quickly altered that to a full time position with the GSH in 2012.  She immediately became the GSH Webmaster and quickly also assumed the responsibility of Membership Manager.  As the Webmaster, Kathy maintains the daily activity on the GSH website and handles the interaction with our website provider.  Kathy also creates and distributes the GSH weekly newsletter eblast, which is the primary GSH tool for keeping our members (and others) informed of the many GSH activities occurring each month.  As if the website management was not enough, Kathy quickly assumed the responsibility of Membership Manager.  This position helped fulfill Kathy's passion, which is interaction with people.  If you have talked with Kathy at the GSH office about membership, registration for events, or any other problem, then you have found out how personable and helpful she can be.  You have probably found out, like I have on occasion, that her suggested solutions for problems seem more likely to succeed than the ideas I had.  Kathy added our membership numbers to her list of passions, and was the primary force in doubling the GSH membership in a little over a year.  If you have wondered whether you should join the GSH or not, talk to Kathy and you will find out points that you probably had not thought of before.  Kathy also established the GSH booth that is present at professional events; this presence has helped increase GSH membership. 

When asked about her volunteer efforts for the GSH, Kathy was reluctant to take any credit for that.  She said that she just did whatever it took to get the job done.  But many of us have seen Kathy work far beyond the call of duty.  One example of this effort occurred when our previous website provider was hacked, and the GSH lost website functionality for a couple of months.  Kathy went far beyond the call of duty to ensure that our members' activities were affected as little as possible.  And she did this while working nights and weekends in helping build our new website.  Kathy attends events (i.e. works at events) far beyond her normal working hours.  When the GSH office was flooded and closed for almost three weeks after Hurricane Harvey, Kathy said that she was not going to let our members have excess suffering from the disaster; she managed to carry out almost all of her normal job duties while working from home.  During the industry downturn of the last few years, Kathy was also very concerned about the GSH members who were losing their jobs.  Representing the GSH, she volunteered to contact the Society of Professional Engineers (SPE) and joined their committee that organized and ran a job fair for petroleum industry professionals.  This event was so successful that the organizing committee won an SPE award for Most Outstanding Committee in 2017. 

Kathy does not think about separating her work from her volunteer efforts.  She does what it takes to get the job done.  She comes to the office on her days off to get the job done.  Kathy feels that she works until "she" is satisfied with the job, and that is usually to a higher quality than what others around her feel is necessary.  When pressed, Kathy did acknowledge that she liked to help people (and the GSH).  She never really thought about what she gained from volunteering for the GSH.  She stated that she did gain a great deal of satisfaction from being part of the GSH, because it was the nicest group that she had ever been involved with in the oil industry. 

Kathy was once told that "She had a servant's heart".  Where there is a need, she jumps in.  There has to be a connection between that "servant's heart" and that passion to help others.  The GSH and its members are lucky to have benefitted from this passion of Kathy, a GSH member and employee.  The next time you see Kathy at the GSH office or a GSH event, talk to her and find out how personable she is, and be sure to thank her for all that she does for the GSH.