Brenna Baucum. (Courtesy/Brenna Baucum)
When a camera crew approached Brenna Baucum, she knew what they intended before they said anything.
“I know what this is,” Baucum exclaimed as a group of people filed into Bentley’s Grill, boom mic and cameras in tow.
Baucum, a financial planner at The H Group, used to work as a video producer at Allied Video Productions, the company tasked with alerting the award winners of the annual First Citizen banquet.
This time, the spotlight was on her as Salem’s Outstanding Young Professional of the Year.
The 36 year old said being presented the award from her former co-workers “doubled the specialness.”
In her acceptance speech on Saturday, March 7, Baucum praised the people who made it possible to achieve the award.
“If like me you find yourself with a life full of good fortune, your life comes with an outstanding responsibility. A responsibility to choose humanity, empathy and kindness, because to choose anything else is to take for granted the incredible gifts that you have been given and the tribe around you who made it possible,” Baucum said during her acceptance speech.
Baucum grew up in southern Oregon and later went to college at the University of Oregon, graduating with a journalism degree. In 2007, she started working at Allied Video Productions and six years later, she made the switch to financial planning.
Baucum told Salem Reporter she views the First Citizen banquet as one of the most powerful community recognitions in Salem.
“I really kind of viewed that recognition as a reflection of the others in our community that make this a great place to be,” she said. “All of those things sort of empower me to be able to give back to our community.”
She said the event is a way to focus on what’s good in the community when there are so many things that are troubling.
“It’s a feel-good tradition that’s been going on for 70 years,” she said. “It allows just one night to focus on the positive and that feels like a tradition worth keeping.”
In nominating documents for the award, people highlighted Baucum’s commitment to deserving causes and advocacy work.
Baucum, attorney Stephanie Palmblad and Melissa Lindley with Willamette Valley Hospice run Women’s Worth, a free financial and estate planning seminar held once or twice a year for the past four years.
It’s a couple of hours with snacks, wine and conversations.
Baucum said she’s heard feedback from women who’ve attended who said they learned things they could implement right away.
“People keep showing up, so we keep doing it,” she said.
As an active member of Rotary Club of Salem, Baucum said dozens of Rotarians came up to her at the awards banquet to give her a hug.
She said the Rotary Club provides a “gateway to being an efficient volunteer.”
Through the service organization, she’s heard about opportunities to give blood or donate food at the food bank.
“I credit the Rotary Club for connecting me to a bunch of those opportunities to give back,” she said.
During her speech, Baucum said, “We’re involved in our community because that’s how a city is made livable and lovable.”
Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.