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Steps Magazine | Leave Your Mark: The Story of Helen Adams

“Leave Your Mark” is a theme incorporated into freshman orientation at Cal State San Marcos. Students learn the many different ways they can leave their marks on CSUSM — through leadership, organizational involvement and community service.For Helen Adams the ability to leave her mark was what attracted her to the fledgling CSUSM Foundation Board.“I felt I would have the ability to have an immediate impact by volunteering my time to the board,” said Adams.Leaving her mark is not a new concept for Adams. When she began her career in public accounting, Adams chose Deloitte Touche, the smallest of the big eight firms at the time. She spent 27 years at Deloitte, earning her way to full partner before retiring.“I always felt like there would be a lot of opportunities for me. I get the same feeling on campus that I did at Deloitte,” says Adams “There is an energy and vibrancy that is very positive.”Adam’s involvement with the campus began long before joining the Foundation Board. She recruited CSUSM graduates to join Deloitte and participated in a number of College of Business Administration programs.Adams also has a strong family tie to CSUSM, she was in the audience this May when her daughter, Erin (Adams) Bellavia earned her degree. Not only was she extremely proud of her daughter’s accomplishment, she shared in the joy of families around her knowing for many their children were the first in their family to earn a college degree.As a member of both the Membership and Finance Committees of the Foundation Board, Adams hopes to help ensure access for future students through philanthropic efforts. At the top of her list is expanding corporate match programs.“At Deloitte we have a very active corporate match program where the firm will match all donations made by the partners and staff. I’m hoping to bring a similar level of enthusiasm and support from CSUSM alumni at Deloitte as well as other firms that provide a corporate match. I really think it’s important for those who have been in their profession for a few years to give back.”Adams wants every student who desires to attend CSUSM to have that opportunity, and she finds it rewarding to contribute her time and talent to that vision through the CSUSM Foundation Board.“I’ve watched the campus grow up. I’ve watched it grow from a few buildings to what it is today. I love change. CSUSM feels young, fresh  and growing. I like to work where my time is meaningful and where I can see an impact in what I am doing — I’ve found that at CSUSM.”