We Have News to Share


Doug Watson, our current Director of Member and Corporate Services, will be our new CEO, following the departure of Jamie Niessen on December 31, 2015.

We strengthen organizations. What does this mean? We work with non-profits and charities, our members. They provide things like support to sick kids, art exhibits and cultural experiences, support for the elderly, animal rescue, many of the things that make our community great. The people who run these organizations have specific expertise to serve those causes they care about. They are busy and talented at serving those causes, and they might need a little help in running the business of the organization. They may need support with some of the behind the scenes activities that make them more effective, like a well-oiled machine. Want some examples? Planning for their future, support with board engagement, or assistance in building a healthy organizational culture. We know organizational practice combined with passion for a cause means our members are effective in achieving their missions, making communities better for all of us.

With Jamie Niessen at the helm, Propellus grew from our roots as Volunteer Calgary into Propellus, a centre for non-profit management for our 500 member organizations. Jamie’s leadership saw the organization through many changes to make that possible. Most notable, he fostered a culture that created a learning organization. One that is interested in learning from our mistakes and getting better at every opportunity. Thank you Jamie, for your leadership!

Doug Will Lead Us in Strengthening Organizations

Doug Watson holds an MBA from Ashridge Business School in the U.K. Before joining Propellus, Doug consulted with diverse audiences across Europe on leadership, management and organizational sustainability. Born and raised in Canada, he and his family returned from the U.K. to work at Propellus as Director of Member Services.

At Propellus, Doug has grown our services available to our members including expanded training, new areas of consulting, and an organizational assessment tool that our members are already using to understand and assess the capacity of their organizations.

In addition to his work for our members, Doug is also our organizational culture guru. He led us through culture assessments to create an intentional culture of people first and member focused. See this blog post for more on culture.

What You Should Know About Our Future

Doug was hired in alignment with a succession plan, which was created as part of the accreditation process for the Imagine Canada Standards Program. The board, leadership and staff all played roles in the creation and implementation of this plan. We learned a lot as an organization and we are pleased to see the plan come to fruition.

You can expect the same level of customer service from Propellus.

A Look Ahead

The benefit of the succession plan and an internal hire is that we lose no ground in the transition internally. Our culture will remain intact and evolve in a way that moves our mission forward.

  • We are excited to continue working with our members to strengthen organizations. The new year will see us rolling out new learning resources for our members.
  • We will continue to learn and grow as an organization and share what we learn with our members through all of our services.
  • We continue to strengthen our collaborations and grow our external partnerships, especially with CCVO and Volunteer Alberta.
  • We will continue our unique partnerships with funders on projects like Transform Your Story that make capacity building funding available to our members.
  • Our evaluation measurement and reporting continue to demonstrate our impact on community and with our members.

We continue to work with you, our members, to support you in what you do best. Walking beside the causes you care about, we support your organization and help it to become stronger. We see a non-profit sector that is better able to deliver the community services and supports that we love and rely upon each day to create thriving, engaged communities.

Read about Doug’s journey here.

Read Jamie’s farewell here.


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