OCONOMOWOC — Sarah Williams-Berg was named Oconomowoc’s Citizen of the Year last week by the Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce during its annual award ceremony.
Williams-Berg is the director of community relations at Shorehaven, but her sense of community stretches far beyond her work there.
Williams-Berg said she has worked with a lot of organizations in the community including multiple school districts and civic groups.
She also said one of her favorite community efforts is helping to pick up trash on Highway 16 with the Scouts and the Oconomowoc Rotary Club.
That sense of community and helping where she can was instilled in her as a child, she said.
“I grew up in a family that there was no argument that we would remember our community and uphold it,” Williams-Berg said. “ ... If we were needed somewhere, we would work to the best of your abilities to provide our talents and skills as needed.”
Shorehaven CEO Dale Dahlke said he has come to know in his 31 years with Shorehaven that Williams-Berg has her finger on the pulse of the community and that service to others has always seemed to be part of her persona.
“I quickly learned that anytime I was at a community event that my place of employment came up in conversation the very first thing the person I was talking to would say is ‘You must know Sarah,’” Dahlke said. “Because it was evident that everyone in Oconomowoc did.”
Williams-Berg said she feels helping in her community is “resoundingly” fun.
“It’s so rewarding to get to know the different kind of causes, beliefs and convictions and motives of people trying to do good on Earth,” Williams-Berg said. “The more you reach out, the more you learn about your own capabilities and about where the needs are and it is tremendously rewarding.”
Dahlke said since the pandemic, it has been almost unnerving how much Williams-Berg has been back in the office as opposed to being out and about in the community.
“We were used to her being off campus for Rotary or Chamber meetings or events and returning with thoughts of how we could lend resources and otherwise be involved with happenings in Oconomowoc,” Dahlke said. “We look forward to a time soon that Sarah can once again be an active liaison for Shorehaven to the community.”
Williams-Berg said she thinks people can feel overwhelmed when they’re asked to join a board of directors or act in some official capacity.
“I think the small steps are the most meaningful, the little things you can do, the hour a week of your time you can donate,” Williams-Berg said.
Those small steps are what Williams-Berg said she wanted to pass on to others.
“People don’t have to feel like they have to lead an army brigade and change the world in 24 hours,” she said. “If we all just try to help out a little bit, we can get there.”
Chamber Award winners
Large Business of the Year: Rogers Behavioral Health
Small Business of the Year: Evolution Marketing LLC
Citizen of the Year: Sarah Williams-Berg
Woman In Business Leadership Award:
Pamela Thomas Non-Profit of the Year: Your Choice to Live