Stacie Barnett started down the path to community involvement when a United Way executive director pulled her aside after a Batavia Women in Business meeting and asked her to help out.
“It was that simple. Once you get a reputation in Batavia for nonprofits, word spreads quickly,” Barnett said.
Community involvement is important to Barnett, 35, and her son, T.J., 15, a sophomore at Batavia High School.
“Absolutely! It’s one thing to tell your kids how to participate and give back to the community. By doing, you put your money where your mouth is,” she said.
Barnett started working with the Batavia United Way four years ago, volunteering with its Adopt a Family program. She is a recipient of the Kane County Chronicle’s Best Under 40 honor.
“No matter how many families the schools give us, we find someone to help to make sure everyone has a good Christmas,” she said of the Adopt a Family program.
She joined the Batavia United Way Board and was nominated as secretary in May. Barnett also works with Batavia MainStreet, which focuses on revitalizing downtown Batavia, and Art in Your Eye, a festival that showcases artists and musicians.
She is most excited about United Way’s upcoming Success by Six program, which aims to ensure low-income children can earn scholarships to preschool and pre-kindergarten park district programs so they’re not left behind.
With half-day kindergarten in Batavia, it’s a struggle for some families, she said.
“I remember trying to afford day care was so, so challenging,” the former stay-at-home-mom said.
Barnett served as member relations specialist at the Batavia Chamber of Commerce and most recently became an assistant buyer at Aldi Corp.
Barnett calls her new gig her “big girl corporate job.” She’s been in a variety of careers, starting in the Navy after high school. She was a nuclear machinist mate and worked on several of the nuclear-powered ships. Not surprisingly, she was one of only two women in her class, she said.
“They were great guys,” she said. “I’m still friends with many of my 25 big brothers. They made sure no one would mess with us … or even talk to us.”
Being in the Navy taught her how to pay attention to detail.
“It was not a skill of mine before, but they teach you the dangers of not paying attention,” she said. “I learned to be meticulous and organized at every job since then. That was the one thing I carried with me.”
Like her son and mother, Barnett attended Batavia High School. She was born and raised in Batavia, and she and T.J. live in her childhood home built by her parents.
“We have very deep roots here,” she said.
Barnett was nominated for the Best Under 40 award by Holly Deitchman, executive director of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce.
“Stacie’s a great gal, very bubbly,” Deitchman said. “Once you spend time with her, you don’t want to let her go.”
Barnett said getting involved is easy.
“It’s the right thing to do,” she said. “If you have a couple of free hours, you’re so lucky, so do something with it. We live in a great community. Be a part of it, you’ll feel good. Knock one show out of your DVR and get involved in the community.”
About the award
This past week, the Kane County Chronicle has recognized 12 area professionals younger than age 40 who have made significant contributions to their profession, company and community. To read the Best Under 40 profiles online, visit KCChronicle.com/bestunder40/2015.