Name: Nikki Giancola
Job Title: Volunteer Coordinator and Call Center Manager
Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois
Based in: Chicago, Illinois
Q1. What does a day at work look like to you?
The days are never the same, which is one reason why I love my job. I get to work with all the volunteers that come into HQ, which is very inspiring. It involves both recruiting and training new volunteers, as well as maintaining relationships with the volunteers who have been here for a while. If they are call center volunteers, I train them on our system and also answer any questions they might have. I also make sure the calls get directed where they need to go, and report on the types of issues voters are calling about.
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign?
I first started back in ’04, when I was interning on State Representative Naomi Jakobsson’s campaign. We were able to do work for Barack Obama’s Senate campaign at the same time. I actually registered the most voters in Champaign-Urbana and got to meet then-State Senator Barack Obama. From that moment on, I was a huge fan.
When I graduated from college, I started teaching. I taught for five years, middle school language arts/literature, social studies, and a reader’s workshop (a class for struggling readers). I absolutely loved teaching and my kids, but still wanted to be politically active. So, I applied to be a summer organizer in the 2008 campaign. I was accepted, and loved every minute of it. I continued volunteering, and in 2010 there was an opening for a regional field director in Illinois. I was lucky enough to get the job. Eventually, when President Obama launched the 2012 campaign on April 4th, they needed someone to come manage the call center and HQ volunteers, and here I am!
It was really hard leaving my students, and I don’t think I ever would have done it except for this President—to serve President Barack Obama. I wanted to help my fellow teachers by re-electing a leader who believes in the work that they do and stresses how important education is. Even more so, I wanted to help my kids in ways that I couldn’t in the classroom. I knew that we needed to re-elect President Obama to make sure that they each receive a quality education, can all afford to go to college, get a job, and follow their dreams. Every day, my students are in the back of my mind and are part of my inspiration to be here.
Q3. What's your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is working with the volunteers. Not many people here at HQ get to interact with volunteers on a daily basis, and I am lucky enough that I get to. Watching how many hours these people put in, their enthusiasm, and their love of the President is inspiring. They are always a reminder of why we are here.
Q4. What's the most unexpected part of your job?
The calls that come in are always interesting. It gives you a glimpse into what voters are thinking and what they are going through. It gives you an idea of what rumors are still out there, what messaging resonates, and what people care about. We hear everything—and yes, some of it is very entertaining at times as well.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
A lot of my “fun facts” come from my teaching days and the time I got to spend with my students. Two little known facts: I coached softball and directed the school play. I actually started the drama program at one of my schools, and our play was “The Legend of Sammy’s Swamp.” Another favorite would be my homeroom coming up with the nickname: “The Gianators.”
Nikki and the Chicago volunteer crew can’t do this alone—sign up to volunteer where you live.