Blog Archives


Archive for January, 2012


Community Collaboration

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Let me introduce to you one of Grande Prairie’s success stories about community collaboration and building on community capacity – the Community Village. This non-profit/voluntary organization is passionate about their “community”, here is their story.


By creating an empowering environment for Peace Country organizations, the Community Village encourages a culture of
collaborative relationships by housing cooperative social services.


The Community Village is home to an abundance of open-minded organizations who meet the social needs of the community through mentorship, collaboration and leadership.

The Community Village and its tenant agencies have demonstrated that they believe and work within the following guiding principles.


Our organizations provide a welcoming environment of accessible services and programs that promote empowerment and mutual support.


Our organizations make committed and vigorous efforts to listen and learn from each other, to strengthen and enhance the long-term sustainability of our services and programs for the community.


Our organizations make efforts to work collectively for the common good while maintaining the diverse character of our individual agencies.

Lateral Leadership

Our organizations value mutuality and reciprocity in all our work.

Harm Reduction

This community of organizations recognizes the respective missions of the founding partners and strives to support all missions and members within a philosophy of harm reduction. Harm reduction is a respectful approach that values people for who they are and where they are at in their lives.  Although people may be involved in negative or unhealthy behaviours, the individual is never seen to hold less value than a person who may not be engaged in such behaviours.  Relationships are built from a place of non-judgment in order to slowly reduce the harm the person may be causing to himself or herself or the community.  It is from this place of self-worth and empowerment that people can truly make changes in their own lives, develop new skills and expand their learning.

The following agencies are being housed within The Community Village:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Center Point Facilitation
  • Grande Prairie Legal Guidance
  • Healthy Families Program
  • Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
  • Second Base Originals
  • GP Acting Guild – Ovations Dinner Theatre
  • FASS – Fetal Alcohol Support Society

If you happen to be in Grande Prairie, stop by for a coffee and check them out…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Big Picture Thinking In Central East Alberta

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

Are you a Big Picture Thinker?

Our leadership assessment framework has identified Big Picture Thinking as one of the 6 major competencies that makes up effective leadership. Clearly, the art of being a visionary or big picture thinker is a skill worth working towards. But what exactly is Big Picture Thinking? We have defined it as: “envisioning the potential in just about anything.  This kind of innovative thinking sees the connections between concepts, rather than focusing on constraints and details.” It is broken down into two subcategories: Visioning and, Innovation and Creation.

I have had the opportunity to work with some great big thinkers in Central East Alberta while working with KnowledgeConnector. These have included individuals working with organizations such as Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County, the Hanna Learning Centre, the Flagstaff Adult Learning Council, the Camrose Adult Learning Council and numerous other non-profit/voluntary sector groups.

Having said that though, these groups and individuals have a passion for continuous learning that helps them keep on the cutting edge within their respective field. And as you know, we are in the business of empowering leaders in the non-profit/voluntary sector be the best leaders as possible.

So, if you are already a Big Picture Thinker but want to strengthen that competency to a greater extent check out one of the following opportunities right here in Central East Alberta. Not a big picture? Then check them out and learn a new skill. The following opportunities take a look at outcome planning and sustainability. Both are big factors when becoming a big picture thinker.

Outcome Tools: Incorporating Concepts into Operations: It’s often said that we know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.  However, using an outcomes-based approach in our organizations refocuses us, and makes us consider not only what we are doing, but why we are doing it. We also know that using an outcome-approach to the planning and delivery of community services is important for ensuring we focus on the actual change or impacts our services are providing. How do we incorporate these ideas into our daily work?  Join us to increase your understanding of an outcome-based approach and explore the use of a variety of tools that will assist you to incorporate outcomes into the planning, implementation, and measurement of your services and programs. This opportunity is offered by ACE communities on February 1 from 10:00 to 11:30 AM.  For more information view this opportunity!

Nonprofit Sustainability: Building Blocks to Organizational Success: Learn how to enhance your organization’s competitiveness and strengthen its financial health. Sustainability is a popular but often misunderstood buzzword in our sector. Nonprofit sustainability means more than just generating enough money to keep our organization afloat. In this class we will begin with the definition of nonprofit sustainability, and then we will cover each of the four key elements that contribute to long-term sustainability for an organization. Learn what you can do to increase your organization’s competitiveness and strengthen its financial health in the current economic climate. Topics covered include understanding what nonprofit sustainability means; key elements of nonprofit sustainability and tips on how to develop them in your organization. This is offered by the Foundation Centre on February 22 from 12:00 to 1:00PM.  For more information view this opportunity!

Enjoy enhancing your leadership skills! To book a FREE leadership assessment workshop to find out what skills your organization can strengthen give me a call!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Yet Another Acronym, S.R.O.I ?

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

A learning opportunity to share…

Offering a different process in developing your organizational strategic and operational work plan by “adding a new tool in your already full tool box”. This process would be very valuable when applying for sustainability funding. As a community leader(s) in the NPVS you are more than likely participating in this process, many may describe it as “community development”; now many refer to it as Social Return on Investment (SROI). So how do I use this you ask? enjoy the read….

Organisations which have social objectives will want to know if they are achieving these objectives. SROI is a method that can help organisations design systems that ensure they have the information they need.

This information can help in developing strategies to increase the social and environmental value you create, manage activities by comparing performance against forecasts and help communicate with funders and beneficiaries.

What is Social Return on Investment (SROI)?

SROI is based on seven principles:

  1. Involve stakeholders
    Understand the way in which the organisation creates change through a dialogue with stakeholders
  2. Understand what changes
    Acknowledge and articulate all the values,  objectives and stakeholders of the organisation before agreeing which aspects of the organisation are to be included in the scope; and determine what must be included in the account in order that stakeholders can make reasonable decisions
  3. Value the things that matter
    Use financial proxies for indicators in order to include the values of those excluded from markets in same terms as used in markets
  4. Only include what is material
    Articulate clearly how activities create change and evaluate this through the evidence gathered
  5. Do not over-claim
    Make comparisons of performance and impact using appropriate benchmarks, targets and external standards.
  6. Be transparent
    Demonstrate the basis on which the findings may be considered accurate and honest; and showing that they will be reported to and discussed with stakeholders
  7. Verify the result
    Ensure appropriate independent verification of the account

SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the value of the social, economic and environmental outcomes created by an activity or an organisation. It is based on a set of principles that are applied within a framework.

SROI seeks to include the values of people who are often excluded from markets in the same terms as used in markets, that is money, in order to give people a voice in resource allocation decisions. SROI is a framework to structure thinking and understanding. It’s a story, not a number. The story should show how you understand the value created, manage it and can prove it.

Feel free to read this article for more information on SROI:–for-social-investing

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Provost Adult Learning Takes The Lead With Online Education

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

The progressive Town of Provost, located just shy of the East side of the Saskatchewan border on Highway 14, has a population of approximately 2078 residents in  town and approximately 2635 in the surrounding municipal district.

Although it is a smaller sized community, Provost does not approach education with a small perspective. In fact, as alluded to, they are very progressive. This is evident if you simply check out The Provost Adult Learning Centre website.

The center offers a wide range of highly interactive courses that you can take entirely over the internet through their online course provider, Ed2Go. Their courses include expert instructors, including nationally known authors.

In case you have never hear of Ed2go (I had not), it is a global Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute (PMI). Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s) offer programs and courses that are pre-approved for professional development units through PMI and have been reviewed by a project management professional (PMP) to ensure that they meet PMI’s expectations for professional development in project management. All of this can be found online here.

But let’s get back to why they are highlighted on the KnowledgeConnector blog. If you are reading this blog you are likely wanting to enhance your leadership skills, so check out on of the following exciting leadership development courses they offer. Remember, because many of them are offered online you don’t even need to live by Provost to reap the benefits!

For more information check out their website or give me a shout!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Strathcona County Creating Strong Leaders

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

The Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County take their learning seriously. They also take the promotion of the leadership development opportunities seriously. We know that because they are a registered learning provider of leadership development right here on

I had the opportunity to attend the bi-monthly Strathcona County Interagency meeting yesterday and was impressed at what a great sense of community there is in Strathcona County. Of course there was a very wide range of organizations represented there-from faith-based charities to Victim’s Services to the Information and Volunteer Centre.

The diversity of the group along with the appreciation that community members demonstrate on an ongoing basis speaks volumes of how important relationship building is in creating strong communities. And of course the Information and Volunteer Centre knows this and this is why they are offering courses on Essential Conversation and Communication Skills from January 20 – February 17. This 5-week workshop is, of course, specifically for nonprofit/voluntary sector and it will help you gain confidence and first class training towards your communication skills.

Another great course that is coming up is called The W’s of Accountability which help you address the Governance, Management & Governance competencies. Here you will learn from the experts on accountability for charities. This workshop is for Board Directors or Senior Managers in a small or medium-sized charity and will explore accountability issues of registered charities to stakeholders. It will emphasize both federal and provincial legal accountability.

Register online at IVC or call 780.464.4242 or email for more information.

If you would like to have your leadership development opportunities highlighted register today! If you are a registered learning provider and would like to learn how to expand your reach even more join us for one of our upcoming Learning Provider Forums. To find out more contact me!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Next Steps: Post March For

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Did you know…

  • We are averaging 1,000 hits a month on the website
  • There are 19142 non-profit groups in Alberta.
  • There are 1800 post-secondary institutions in Canada
  • 116000 staff are employed by the non-profit sector in Alberta
  • One of the true benefits of the last 18 months has been the connection with rural Alberta and communities through the work of the RCC’s. We have truly benefited from the ability to connect on a personal level with all of you.
  • Volunteer Alberta is committed to supporting the ongoing sustainability of the KnowledgeConnector Initiative.  The website will continue to be in place and supported through partnerships and collaborative efforts.  The website is now imbedded in Volunteer Alberta and will continue to be a vital program and service offered by VA.
  • We are looking at a variety of options as to how we might be able to keep the momentum and community engagement activities in place.  That means we are looking at how we might do things differently (“smarter, not harder”) through partnerships, collaborative ventures, e&. Sustainability with this project is not only about money, but about partnership, collaboration and community support.

What do you think we might be able to do in the future?

All of you have a ton of valuable information to share on how to collectively increase access and utilization of leadership development
opportunities that are available for the Non-profit/Voluntary Sector (NPVS) in Alberta.

Here is your opportunity to provide feedback with “community engagement”.

The primary objective for the website is that it is designed to help you link rural Alberta NPVS to learning opportunities/learning provider, promote and enhance Learning Provider capacity to offer quality leadership programs and services. Are there barriers and challenges you have? Explore what we may do to enhance or tweak the website to accomplish this

So check us out, register as a learning provider or choose a learning opportunity.

FYI – Look for our upcoming Learning Provider Forums hosted by KnowledgeConnector in your region (Hanna, AB – January 27 1:00 to 4:00PM) or complete our Learning Provider Online Survey:

For further information or to provide feedback please email me at  or our Program Coordinator at

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Hanna Learning Centre Steps Up To The Plate…Again!

Posted by: in Central East, Global News, Uncategorized

I have mentioned in previous blogs how great Hanna, AB is at promoting and engaging in Leadership Development. This impression has primarily come from my experience working with the Hanna Learning and Volunteer Centre.

From the first day I met Doray Veno, the Executive Director of the Hanna Learning Centre, I was impressed. The entire organization is more than willing to build their leadership skills while sharing their learning’s with the residents in Hanna. This was demonstrated by their participation on not one, but two A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshops. After the first workshop they jumped on board and developed a learning plan that matched their common leadership learning goals.

Shortly after the workshop, leaders of the Hanna Learning Centre team expanded their skills through the webinar, Daring to Lead 2011: Leadership Development & Support for Nonprofit Leaders featuring Marla Cornelius.

The Hanna Learning Centre is continuing to embrace a culture of continuous professional development by following their learning plan. The Hanna Volunteer and Learning Centre prioritizes their learning in their organization which in turn develops their organizational capacity, inspires staff to become better professionals, and allows them all to lead their community by building healthier communities.

Recently, they took on one more major step to help build their community by becoming the host site for a KnowledgeConnector Learning Provider Forum. If you organization has a mandate to enhance leadership skills in the nonprofit/voluntary sector and would like to increase exposure and registration numbers for your courses and learning opportunities join us at the Hanna Learning Centre, 401 Street, Hanna on Friday – January 27 from 1:00 – 4:00PM. Educational institutions, private consultants, learning councils and the like are welcome!

At the event you will see what has made the Hanna Learning Centres such an inspirational organization, enjoy solid networking and learn of an excellent marketing opportunity.

To RSVP follow this link:

If you have any questions or would like to know more give me a shout.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Do You Find Yourself In A Leadership Rut?

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

As a kid we are often caught saying “I can’t wait to grow up…”. In response to this comment I remember my grandma saying to me “do not rush growing up, life goes by fast – even faster as you get older”. Wow, wasn’t she right… it is 2012, where did last year go?

So how do we slow things down and put priorities for life in place? One may suggest making New Year’s resolutions. We start off with great intentions and enthusiasm, but realistically after two weeks or a month the novelty wears off and we are right back to where we started.

I am a firm believer in not reinventing the “wheel” so when I come across a great piece of advice or what I like to call “an aha moment” I want to pass it on.  What a better time than the beginning of a new year to share some words of wisdom (even if they aren’t mine…).

I just read this great article that suggested 5 tips guaranteed to jump-start your brain and get you off on the right foot for 2012 (Mike Myatt, Leadership advisor to CEOs & Boards, and author of Leadership Matters) Here are some highlights to his article:

The difference between real leaders, and leaders in title only, is what they do when the creative juices begin to dwindle.  For most people, the simple truth is excuses come easier than solutions – but who said leadership was easy?  Leadership is about acclimation and reacclimation, improvising and adapting, learning and unlearning – leadership is about change.

Don’t make excuses – make changes. Saying you don’t have time for “X” is just code for “ X” isn’t important to me. Saying you don’t have the resources needed for change is just an admission you’re not very resourceful. Leadership has little to do with resources, but everything to do with resourcefulness. The funny thing is, those who are the most resourceful often end-up with the greatest amount of resources. If you’re stuck in a leadership rut, the following 5 steps will help you find your path back to real leadership:

  1. Go Break Something:  If you want to drive innovation, lead change, and create growth, stir the pot – go break something. Slaughter a few sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, break a paradigm, and inject a little chaos into your ordered world. Old isn’t necessarily wrong, but likewise, it’s not necessarily right either. Look for ways to create new advantages and make needed improvements. Reengineer a best practice into a next practice. Ask yourself this question: Is the most tenured person in a particular position, the best person for the position? If not, make a change. Don’t be bored, just implement a little creative destruction.
  2. Recharge Your Brain:  A brain is like any other energy source – it needs to be nourished in order to evolve. Whether you stimulate your brain through basic learning activities like reading, taking classes or participating in workshops or seminars, or by just giving it some well needed rest, the important thing is to make a concerted effort in this regard.  Vacations, sabbaticals, and service projects are also quite useful for creating new thinking. Carve out new neural pathways by subjecting the brain to new and creative ways of thinking. Change-up your routine and do things differently and more productively – you’ll be glad you did.
  3. Get Some Help:  The best leaders surround themselves with wise counsel, and make a habit of seeking out sound advice. Start close to home – ask your family for their candid opinion of your shortcomings, and then listen. Those who love you the most will also give you the respect of candor. In addition to seeking guidance from your family, seek out professional advice and counsel by joining a peer group, hiring a coach, creating an advisory board, or finding a new mentor. There are abundant resources available to leaders resourceful enough to seek them out. Don’t allow yourself to be held hostage by your pride, ego, arrogance, or ignorance – go get some help.
  4. Have a Vigorous Debate: Few things kindle the creative fires like a challenging debate. By seeking out dissenting views and differing opinions, you open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. A developed mind is the result of a challenged mind. Smart leaders take their business logic and willingly subject it brutal assault. In doing so, they often find what they believed to be close to perfect was in fact flawed. Go find the smartest people you can, and ask them to poke holes in your theories and beliefs. There is value in both validation and invalidation. Don’t be afraid of being proven wrong – be afraid of thinking you’re right when you’re not.
  5. Fire Yourself: In the final analysis, if you can’t or won’t fix yourself, or you can’t or won’t allow yourself to be developed by others, then it’s time to pass the baton. Both you and your organization deserve more than just a leader in title, and if you cannot perform as leader then find someone who can. Whether you transition to a co-CEO role, entrepreneur in residence, Chairman of the Board, consultant, take a sabbatical, or you just resign your position, all concerned parties will be better off by making a move that is likely long overdue.

Simple solutions right? So make 2012 a year of change. Start small, work your way up and become a better leader.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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