Hi! My name is Samantha (Sam) Filcik and I am honored to be the new Development & Operations Manager for TFFT! I was raised in Louisville, KY and attended college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English & a minor in Geography. When I entered college, I had every intention of becoming a teacher (like several other members of my family before me) but decided to change course during my junior year. Like most major decisions I’ve made in my life, I acted on instinct and I never looked back. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life but I no longer felt called to teach and I firmly believe teaching is a calling.
While I was in college, I worked at a local BBQ restaurant and was offered the position of front of house manager upon my graduation. I was thrilled with the opportunity and thought the restaurant industry was where my career was headed. There were so many things I loved about working in the restaurant and I learned so many valuable lessons but after a year of management, I realized I was wearing down quickly and needed a change of pace. Then, I found out that one of my friends was moving to Charlotte and in need of a roommate so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and tag along. Before I left Knoxville, I met with a career counselor to try and get some ideas of what jobs I would be best suited for as I began my search in my new city. He was the first person to suggest nonprofit work to me and it immediately clicked that he was right so that became my new goal.
I wasn’t able to find a job before I moved so I had to broaden my search when I arrived. Luckily, I was quickly hired on as a nanny for an amazing family. I’m a big believer that things always work out the way they are supposed to and although working as a nanny wasn’t my number one goal, I can’t imagine my life in Charlotte without this family. I worked for them for almost two years before I secured an internship in the corporate sales department at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the summer of 2014. Although it didn’t seem like it, this ended up being the step I needed to break into the nonprofit world.
During my time at Charlotte Motor Speedway, I worked in both the communications and events departments and learned from the best people in the industry how to promote and plan events, which are two very important skills to have for nonprofit work! In 2017, a position finally opened up in the speedway’s nonprofit, Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) and I was offered the job. SCC is a grant making charity that supports local children’s nonprofits. Through this role, I learned about so many incredible charities in Charlotte and immediately got involved in as many as possible.
I am currently on the steering committee for our local Special Olympics, on the walk committee for our local Best Buddies and the court appointed Special Education Decision Maker for two children in foster care. I have volunteered as a math tutor for HEART Math, chaperoned dances for the Down Syndrome Association, worked camps and other events for Least of These Carolinas and am constantly looking for new opportunities to make a difference in my community.
What excites me most about working with TFFT is the opportunity to expand my community to a completely different part of the world. I’ve learned that it’s so important to look out for those closest to you but that’s not where our desire to make a difference should stop. It’s an unbelievable feeling to know the work TFFT is doing is truly making a global impact by lifting up children through education. As someone who grew up in a family of teachers, I understand the importance of a good education and how it can provide avenues to opportunities and new experiences that were seemingly unreachable. There are so many children around the world who have great untapped potential and just need someone to take the time to believe in them and I am so proud to be working with a team who is working to unleash their potential. I’m looking forward to getting to know our scholars, the team and the entire TFFT family who make all of this possible!