A year of volunteering out of my comfort zone

Did you know that according to Volunteer Canada there are approximately 12 million volunteers across Canada? Like many others, I volunteer my time to give back to the community, gain new skills and meet new people.  I’ve been a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Toronto Chapter for over 3 years and in the past, I have volunteered in a variety of roles from event registration to Director of Networking. This past year I decided to try something completely new and out of my comfort zone.

This past year I volunteered as the Director of Volunteers which involved recruiting and matching volunteers to a variety of roles that were needed to help the different portfolios. Before going into this role, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself to learn new skills that I haven’t experienced yet in my career.  Not only has this experience given me a whole new perspective on the human resources and recruitment process but it has allowed me to develop new skills.  Although the recruitment process can be challenging at times,  it has been a pleasure to talk with each volunteer to gain an understanding of their experiences and their areas of interest while understanding the needs of the Board.

I have three main takes away from my experience:

  1. Flexibility is key. It was important for me to be able to have flexibility in the role to continue my personal and professional priorities.
  2. Opportunities are endless. I had the opportunity to attend a board meeting this year and it was a great first experience for me. It allowed me to listen to all the needs of the portfolios while seeing first hand how a board meeting runs.
  3. Take the time to talk. Through this role I was able to talk one on one with each volunteer which allowed me to get to know them. This was a fantastic experience because I learnt how diverse our communications community is.

If you are a current member of IABC Toronto or looking at joining I would highly recommend getting involved as there are countless types of opportunities. Plus, it’s a great way to gain new skills, share your expertise and meet like-minded professionals. Mark your calendars because IABC Toronto is hosting a volunteer recruitment event on September 10th. This is a great chance to reconnect with fellow communicators and find out how to get involved!

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