Corey Cusick - Age: 31, Head of the Lakes United Way
What do you do professionally?
I’m the community services director for the Head of the Lakes United Way. It is a liaison position between the Head of the Lakes United Way and the North East Area Labor Council. It involves a wide range of duties, including helping connect our local union members to opportunities to get involved in the community, providing support for union members who are struggling, and workforce development.
How are you involved in the community? Do you volunteer with any organizations?
Having been born and raised here in Duluth, I’ve tried to stay involved in the community over the years. As of late, this has largely happened in the realm of voter information and registration, and political volunteerism in general. While the pandemic curbed my numbers a little bit, I knock on a lot of doors and call a lot of phones in support of candidates and issues every year. In my position with the Head of the Lakes United Way, I also help head up the planning of our annual Labor Day Picnic, a robust holiday assistance program (including gift assistance), and Duluth’s Construct Tomorrow, which connects the union building and construction trades and contractors with around 1,500 area students to give them some hands-on experience.
What is important to you?
Improving the lives of others and strengthening my community. In both my former political and current nonprofit work, those have consistently been the foundation of my motivation.
How do you spend your free time?
I love watching sports with friends (go Wild!), enjoying our local breweries, board and card games, and trivia. And, of course, when it’s a little nicer out, I spend as much time as I can enjoying our parks and outdoor spaces.
Favorite things about living and working in the Northland?
Duluth is a place that has some of the highest rates in the nation of both union membership and voting, which are two things right at the core of my values. And, of course, at the core of those things are the people. Duluth wouldn’t be home without the people. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the benefit of living and working in such a beautiful place. Being able to step out of my office at the Labor Temple to see the lake just a couple of blocks away is truly a blessing.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming professionals?
Finding work that you really care about can really change the trajectory of your life. If you let how much you care show through your work, you’ll find that it benefits you both professionally and emotionally.
Favorite moment in life?
Election night 2017; the Zack Filipovich Duluth City Council reelection campaign culminating in a resounding victory that was confirmed early on in the evening was a high point in my career that I will always cherish. I remember getting pulled into the hallway by the news organizations to tell us that his race had been called already and just taking in the interview that followed.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
This quote hangs on a banner in Wellstone Hall at the Labor Temple: "We want more school houses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more constant work and less crime; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures." - Samuel Gompers