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Karen's story

Volunteer Manager

“As a Volunteer Manager, I work with so many terrific people. There is never a boring moment. The best part of my job is training people. I’m pretty sure I learn at least as much from the volunteers I lead as they do from me.”

Meet Karen. Karen is the Volunteer Manager for a large non-profit organization. She has built a solid career in volunteer management through pursuing various part-time positions in the non-profit sector. Karen is a community builder and her work in volunteer management not only offers her a chance to build a stronger community; it has provided her the flexibility she needs to raise her young family.

When Karen graduated from university with a Masters in Education, she was hired as a Programs Coordinator for the UBC Faculty of Commerce. This was her first exposure to managing people and projects. After a few years in that role, she applied online and laddered into a Coordinator of Volunteer Resources role for the City of Abbotsford. The interview process for this position was challenging but it was Karen’s passion for volunteering that won the panel over.

As a Coordinator, she interviewed and trained volunteers, and matched them to suitable opportunities. Karen is a continuous learner who seeks out different ways to enhance her skills. While she was working for the City of Abbotsford, she completed a Volunteer Management Program online through Humber College.

When Karen started a family, she looked for a part-time flexible position that could meet her personal and professional needs. With the help of someone in her network, she was referred to a position that matched her interest.

Karen was hired as the Coordinator of Training & Outreach for Volunteer Vancouver. This position paired well with her personality and it allowed her to be innovative. She designed and delivered a range of training workshops for the non-profit sector. In addition, it gave her the autonomy and flexibility she was seeking. Because the Volunteer Centre was a smaller, more adaptable organization, she could easily take on a leadership role in many of the projects.

After being in the same position for six years, Karen wanted to expand her skills and work for a larger organization. She conducted an informational interview with a colleague, which led to a position managing volunteers at the Canadian Red Cross Society.

Karen’s current employer is larger than the organization where she previously worked. She receives better pay as well as access to a wider variety of internal career opportunities. Karen works as part of a team in volunteer services at the Canadian Red Cross, and interacts with more than 200 volunteers who are extremely enthusiastic about their work at the organization. She expects that her next step will likely be another leadership role and she is very open to the possibilities that the non-profit sector will present to her. 

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