Thanks for Attending! AGM 2016 Session Notes

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Breakdown of the Afternoon:

Part 1: 1:30pm – Collaborative Learning Session

Join us for an opportunity to make connections with people who are working on the same challenges and opportunities you are! Join in on a conversation that sparks your interest:

  • Board Recruitment / How do we recruit for diversity?
  • People Engagement / How can we access the talent available now in Calgary?
  • Leadership / What’s the story on collaboration and how do I find the right partner?

Board Recruitment

Calgary is a diverse city and our boards don’t always represent this diversity. Propellus is pursuing partnerships in this area, this is your opportunity to help us shape the service and to learn from each other here today.

Why do we need board diversity? What benefits have you experienced through board diversity?

Post-it note take away

  • “Avoid Group Think” – Balanced effective decision making
  • Diversity is a means to tap into unique knowledge bases and skill sets
  • Consider recruiting younger board members who provide different skills sets and perspectives
  • The breadth of diversity is beautiful and we face a different but beautiful challenge to be mindful that our boards are diverse just like our clients

Where do you recruit diverse board members?

Post-it note take away

  • From being a well-respected organization that is attractive to everyone
  • Check out Bow Valley resources and educations opportunities for board development
  • Diversity must be strategically fostered over time
  • Bow Valley Collage has a board recruitment advisor that we can access
  • Board recruitment is a diverse activity. Should our recruitment be as diverse as our desire for a diverse board?

What are the challenges you might face in diversifying your board?

Post-it note take away

  • Board evaluation of gap areas before recruitment
  • Board diversity is both a philosophy and a strategy
  • Feeling a sense of inclusiveness is important for board members to share ideas and ask questions
  • Younger board members can sometimes take a few months to feel confident
  • Cultural norms can dictate how a board member works with other board members
  • If you rely on word of mouth then you may never find the diversity that you are looking for. That is why a diversity recruitment service would be so helpful.
  • Raising awareness of who you are and what you do is important for recruitment
  • It is a balancing act to have board diversity and then some of the necessary networks to achieve strategic goals


People Engagement

With a downturn, we sometimes see a rise in skills based volunteering or in career shifts to our sector. We are curious to hear what’s going on in your organizations, and to have you share and learn from one another.

What kinds of shifts in talent (people) are you seeing available in Calgary right now? How might these new skills benefit your organization?

How do you engage these skills? Volunteering? Paid Positions? How might that work?

What are the challenges you might experience in engaging the new talent available in Calgary?

What do you need to engage people more effectively in your organization?

Post it notes takeaways

  • Volunteers are amazing people full of love
  • Treat volunteers like staff
  • Using more volunteer software, ie. Volunteer spot
  • Increase in skills based volunteers
  • Post on Kijiji
  • Openness to higher skill volunteers
  • With highly skilled volunteers, do you take them on for long term roles knowing that they might find a job and leave?
  • Higher skill levels checking out non-for-profit provides a different perspective
  • Find a way to engage skilled volunteers
  • We experience similar challenges…how to meet client and volunteer needs?
  • Temporary volunteers from corporate layoffs may be hard to place
  • Think a-new about staff and volunteers. All are paid, but not necessarily in dollars.
  • Learned about volunteer software
  • Volunteer hub
  • Create jobs for skilled volunteers



Propellus has an organizational assessment tool and it showed us that over anything else, collaboration is the trickiest for our sector. Let’s chat about that today to learn from one another and to get some ideas to help us work together better.

What does collaboration mean to you? What success have you had?

What challenges did you face?

Post it notes takeaways

  • Time and money
  • Honest communication
  • Being in the moment
  • Equitable relationships
  • Terms of reference
  • Good Governance
  • Building trust – talk and set terms at the start

What do you need to help you collaborate more effectively?

Post it notes takeaways

  • Recognizing interconnectedness and interdependency
  • Culture of collaboration (spoken and unspoken) = “way of being”
  • Organizational awareness of resource burden of collaboration
  • Convening and thinking opportunity
  • Understanding complexity of problems and the co collaborators
  • Transparency and authenticity (surfacing what is left unsaid)
  • Skills and competence
  • Humility
  • Listening
  • Volunteer board
  • Support from the board
  • Finding the right team
  • Clear goals
  • Better evaluation/measurement abilities
  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Clarity of terminology and descriptions of relationships eg. Coordination vs. collaboration
  • No fear around asking questions, pitching ideas, etc. (with funders as well)
  • Accommodate diversity, language, and disabilities
  • Match maker
  • Mentors, brokers, etc.
  • Time
  • Bring neutrality
  • The initiator should be open
  • Shared ownership
  • Overcome power dynamics
  • Be open in communication
  • Communication: honest, candid, open
  • Facilitator/coordinator/liaison
  • Formal approaches for social issues
  • A forum for discussion to explore collaborative opportunities/gaps, etc.
  • Take off own organizational “hat” and take on the “hat” of the collaborative
  • Humility, honesty
  • Perceived vs. Recognized need (social purpose)
  • Intentional communication and desire to collaborate
  • Complementary
  • Committed resources – people, time and money
  • Training in skills of collaboration
  • Overcoming competitive nature
  • Facilitation vs. leadership
  • Role clarification
  • Alignment
  • Access to more sustainable resources
  • Clear, transparent goals
  • Common vision
  • Adaptability – give and take
  • Flexibility – give and take
  • Backup support
  • Freedom and openness to creativity/thinking outside of the box
  • Learning/training for collaborative skill building
  • Thick skin
  • Relationship management
  • Money
  • Time
  • Trust
  • Clear expectations
  • Communication
  • More resources (staff and time)
  • More organizational knowledge



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