Working in Nonprofits
People in Nonprofits
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Organization: Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County
Position: Assistant Director
Length of Service: 5.5 years
On any given day at the Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County (IVC), Scott Lundell finds himself doing things that don't always fit neatly into his Assistant Director job description. He might meet with a community committee to establish a new program, respond directly to questions from local residents about volunteer opportunities or sit in on an interview for a new staff member with his executive director.
As is the case with many nonprofit organizations, especially those with a small staff team, IVC relies on the skills and abilities of its entire staff to respond to the needs of the organization, even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone. "No two days are the same here," he says.
While constant change may dissuade some, Scott sees it as an opportunity to develop new skills and to learn more about the mechanics of running a nonprofit organization, skills that are vitally important, considering IVC's dual role as a provider of information about community services and as the community's volunteer centre. "I really enjoy being able to switch gears and see how all the pieces fit together."
Like many people working in the sector, Scott started as out as a volunteer. When he was nine years old he stacked books in his school library and as a teenager he ran winter hockey programs for disadvantaged youth. While he continued to volunteer into his 20's as a hockey coach with the Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind, Scott didn't consider starting a career in the sector until a friend of the family told him about an innovative program for nonprofit leadership at Grant MacEwan College. "I originally studied culinary arts and worked in that field for three months. Before I started the program at Grant MacEwan, I wasn't even aware that a career in the sector was an option."
The program is offered in a hybrid delivery model, with students completing the program requirements over a period of two years. Students attend one or two-day sessions on campus approximately ten times throughout the program, with the remaining coursework completed independently, with the support of instructors and fellow students. Scott had the opportunity to complete his practicum requirement at Volunteer Edmonton, where he had the opportunity to build a lot of great relationships and networks that he still uses today.
With his career on track, Scott doesn't think he'll ever look for work outside of the nonprofit sector. "I really enjoy the culture of nonprofit organizations," he says. "I love working with a network of people who are trying to make the community a better place. It's very rewarding to see first hand the impact that you can have on the lives of the people around you."
For more information about the Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County, visit www.ivcstrathcona.org/.