“What are you doing for others?”

January 21, 2020
Post contributed by Naureen Punjani as a part of the Leadership Winnipeg program.
​“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s these words beautifully summarize much of the last session of Leadership Winnipeg for me.

Day 4 was brimmed with a assortment of topics related to community leadership, management and personal growth.

The first half of the day was spent with Volunteer Manitoba – an organization that promotes volunteerism and matches talent with need. Kamillah El-Giadaa started off the day by reviewing with us how volunteering is in the weave of our social fabric. Many of the initiatives we all rely on – be it in the field of sports, arts, youth, older adults or safety etc. – are made possible only due to the untiring service of the volunteers. It was heart warming to learn that more than half of Canada volunteers in some way or the other and that Manitoba is right near the top of the list!

The discussion elegantly flowed to the next natural question, ‘How can We continue this tradition and volunteer our expertise?’. Non-profits and charitable organizations are always looking for community members who can contribute their time and knowledge to help them govern better. The realty however is that most who generously volunteer their time to become board members (usually because no one else is available to step up) do so with little appreciation of what it entails. The result often is a somewhat non-productive board term where the volunteer scrambles through the meetings, abstains from discussions and is left exhausted with the whole experience.

It was refreshing to know that Volunteer Manitoba offers a Governance training which can make this whole experience rewarding, educational and mutually beneficial.

Thanks to Leadership Winnipeg, our class went through a condensed, yet all-encompassing version of Governance Training with Jackie Hunt, Executive Director, Volunteer Manitoba. It covered topics such as how boards work, role and responsibilities of members and things to consider when accepting the role. Anyone looking for governance training for the board they sit on should feel free to connect with Volunteer Manitoba.

Another such entity that helps with volunteer matchmaking is SPARK. They shared success stories where they were able to find for-profit businesses/individuals for non-profits who needed project-based work. The results were nothing short of astounding – from a quick database review to a complete office makeover, thanks to SPARK non-profits can get specialized services of expert professionals, with no cost to them!

At a time when all we hear is mostly unpleasant news, it was a welcome change to spend the morning discussing the power of volunteering i.e. giving someone the best gift possible – our time.

We ended the day taking a deeper dive into our personalities with Tom Carson. We discussed how we have the power to turn our weaknesses into strengths by working collaboratively and focusing on continuous self improvement.

How effortlessly the day so packed with important agenda items went by, is a testament to management skills of Doneta Brotchie and her team. Thanks Leadership Winnipeg for another insightful day!