HC Spotlight: Chris Bubenik

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Chris Bubenik is the Marketing Manager for Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker. Now that it's 2016, he has officially lived in Asheville for half of his life. Chris has been involved with United Way's Highlands Circle since 2014.

Why are you involved with United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County? I didn't come to the organization the traditional way. I was actually hired as the Marketing and Communications Manager and over the course of my time with the organization, I witnessed the power of collective impact time after time. I also saw the need for school supplies, caring adults and mentors for middle school students, and access to basic services grow every year. The power of a group of people combining resources so that every human being in our community has the opportunity to reach his or her potential -- that's powerful stuff.

What makes you smile? My niece, the mountains, spending time with family and friends, turning on the radio and hearing Dolly Parton -- I'm pretty easy. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

What activities make you lose track of time? Browsing Wikipedia, hiking, "visiting breweries"

What three questions do you wish you had the answers to?

  • How did I get lucky enough to end up in this special little corner of the world?
  • Will people ever realize we've all got more in common than not?
  • Where did I leave my last 23 pairs of sunglasses?
Lessons learned from Highlands Circle that have benefited your career? Asheville is full of small organizations and I've sometimes been the youngest person on a staff or on a board, so it's more difficult to establish a professional network of peers at the same point in their careers. Highlands Circle makes connections in a unique way. We support United Way's work with donations, but also volunteer, network, and advocate together. Meeting those with the same passions and interests takes it beyond a superficial relationship. I've received referrals and career advice from several Highlands Circle members.

Favorite Motivational Quote? “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.” - Henry Ward Beecher

If you could give one piece of advice to a large group, what would it be? Be yourself and work hard. Be mindful of the details, but don't sweat the small stuff. Hold yourself to a higher standard than others expect of you. Always speak with confidence when you believe something is right...even if your voice trembles.


Each month, we shine a spotlight on a member of Highlands Circle, a group for leaders in their 20s and 30s. If you are interested in being highlighted, please contact Kristina.Dionne@UnitedWayABC.org or call (828) 239-1049.

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