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Leadership Skills: At The Heart of All Non-profit/Voluntary Organizations

Posted by: in Central East, Global News, Uncategorized

The Central Alberta Regional Network is committed, hard-working and passionate about the conservation and preservation of historical artifacts throughout Alberta. The organization contains over 50 museum members that are located throughout Central Alberta. These museums range from ones such as the Millet and District Museum, Archives and Visitor Information Centre to the large Calgary Glenbow Museum.

As a voluntary sector organization, CARMN faces common challenges that many organizations face. Members are always on the look-out for more volunteers, funding opportunities, board governance skills and succession planning education. That being said, they are also very proactive at facing those challenges. For example, last week they booked an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment for the afternoon portion of their bi-monthly meeting.

I discovered at the workshop that CARMN regularly works on enhancing their professional development. In fact, they regularly utilize AMA – the Alberta Museum Association, for professional development opportunities. You might not have guessed this, but the AMA offers a wide range of professional development opportunities ranging from workshops in board development and grant writing skills to certificates programs in Museum Studies. To view these great learning opportunities visit their site here.

AMA and CARMN also offer a great leadership program called NextGen.  If you visit their site you will read that “NextGen: Canada has proven to fill a need in the Canadian museum sector by providing learning opportunities for emerging and mid-career professionals. This immersive program offers an exceptional development opportunity for participants as they explore their leadership abilities and gain the knowledge, skills, and wisdom they need to become even more effective leaders.”

Leadership development is clearly a strategy recognized within many sub sectors within the nonprofit/voluntary sector of Alberta to enhance organizational capacity. Within the identified non-profit/voluntary subsectors such as Culture and Recreation, Education and Research, Social Services and so on, many great communities have grown to work together to support their own. If you belong to a community such as CARMN, that offers leadership development opportunities, I encourage you to share the excellent marketing strategy available through KnowledgeConnector. If you are looking for other leadership development opportunities visit our site often for new opportunities that are being posted weekly.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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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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Different Leadership Skills for Different Organizational Structures?

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to host a workshop in Sylvan Lake. It was a fantastic experience and brought to light the different needs within different types of non-profit/voluntary organizations. It also demonstrated how the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Tool really is for everybody.

One major learning was how various aspects of the A.S.K. Leadership Competency Framework vary for different types of non-profit/voluntary organizations. Many of us think that the organizational structure of a non-profit organization contains the board with about seven to twelve positions including the chair, secretary, treasurer and the like. Under that you might expect to find a CEO or Executive Director and below that various staff that provide a number of functions. Now this is how many operate but it is definitely not the way they all operate.

Take for example the Sylvan Lake Quilters. This group is made up of a group of women who share a passion for quilting and:

  • promote a greater understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of the art, techniques, and heritage of patchwork, appliqué, and quilting
  • promote the highest standards of workmanship and design in both traditional and innovative work
  • foster cooperation and sharing among quilt makers across the country.

From my recollection I believe there is a president but no formal board or organizational structure, like the one I mentioned above. Like the Sylvan Lake Quilters, other organizations exist in the form of Charities and Foundations. There are also many volunteer groups that have no formal organizational structure.  If you are familiar with the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Framework, you might wonder if it is applicable to all of these various formal or informal organizational structures.

The simple answer is that the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Tool provided by KnowledgeConnector IS applicable to each and every type of formal or informal organizational structure. The six major competencies that make it up are based on the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to be an effective leader in the non-profit/voluntary sector. Now if you do not sit on a board of directors or you do not even have a board, simply do not fill out section 5.2 entitled Governance. DO fill out section 5.1 that is titled Senior Management. If you play a role in the operation and success of your group or organization you ARE senior management. You do not have to have a formal title that says you are a ‘Senior Manager’.

So in short, groups and organizations like the Sylvan Lake Quilters, can and do benefit from KnowledgeConnector’s Leadership Assessment Tool. If your organization does not fit the traditional non-profit organizational structure pictured above, I encourage you to take the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment. The tool and framework are focused on developing the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to make a fabulous leader in the non-profit/voluntary sector. So whether you are a board member, senior manager or individual who supports the vision of your group or organization then you are a leader.

Simply note that section 5.2 is entitled Governance because it is tailored for board members. Section 5.1 is entitled Senior Management because it is tailored for those individuals who play a role in the strategic direction of their organization or voluntary group.

If you or someone you know belongs to an organization that does not fit the traditional non-profit structure pictured above and have not yet taken the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment, I encourage you to take it online or book a workshop with me. Leadership skills in the non-profit/voluntary sector do cross all organizational structures.

Until next time…

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Building Community Capacity: One Leader at a Time

Posted by: in Central East, Global News, Uncategorized

Here at KnowledgeConnector we like to say that we build community capacity in rural Alberta by connecting leaders in the nonprofit/voluntary sector with leadership development opportunities.

But what exactly is community capacity? To me, Community Capacity Building is all about helping residents in a community reach their potential so that collectively, they can work together to create a community that has stronger economics, a better quality of life, and a nurturing environment for families and individuals.

Now building community capacity most definitely sounds like a lofty goal for one project to take on. But when I stop and use my developing Big Picture Thinking leadership skill, I am in awe of the potential. You see, the KnowledgeConnector team really only plays a little part in this. We are here to simply facilitate change by helping leaders see their strengths and reach for their potential.

For example, as a Regional Capacity Coordinator, I build relationships with individuals and groups within my region. Today, I will be going to Bashaw, Alix and Big Valley. Three smaller towns in the Central East Alberta that have a variety of nonprofit/voluntary organizations that makes up the core of these communities. I have the opportunity to visit the representatives of these organizations and offer them to facilitate an ASK Assessment Workshop for their organization or community. Then, I can tell them, based on the results of the workshop, what leadership development priorities they should focus on. Then I can connect with learning opportunities to fill their learning gaps. Then, it is all up to YOU.

That’s right, we can motivate, inspire and educate, but at the end of the day it is all up to you. Each individual leader we speak with needs to take ownership over their learning. We just make it a whole lot easier.

So, what are you waiting for, take the ASK Leadership Assessment online or through a workshop in your area. Already did that? Then tailor your learning plan based on your results and use our super friendly one-stop-shop hub of learning opportunities close to you. As your Regional Capacity Coordinator I will do what I can to motivate, inspire and educate you to take your leadership skill set to the next level.

Give me a shout to help me help YOU build community capacity in your area, one leader at a time.

Victoria Poschadel | | 780.945.6134

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Check out the People Who Make it all Possible

Posted by: in Global News, Uncategorized

Watch the KnowledgeConnector Project Manager and Volunteer Alberta’s Communication Director go over the finer points of KnowledgeConnector and how it is transforming Alberta’s nonprofit/voluntary sector. Stay tuned for other videos of your local Regional Capacity Coordinators coming soon.

Knowledge Connector – Launch from Volunteer Alberta on Vimeo.

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September 19 | Join Us

Posted by: in Global News

On September 19th, connects Alberta’s nonprofit organizations to learning and professional leadership like never before.

Through iCCAN video conferencing technology, Jann Beeston, Chair of the Rural Alberta Development Fund Board, General Manager Campus Alberta Central, and Masters Candidate in Leadership at Royal Roads University will officially unveil the Knowledge Connector project from Hanna through iCCAN technology.

Throughout Alberta, regional influencers will gather to celebrate the nonprofit sector’s new, revolutionary tool.  On behalf of the Volunteer Alberta board and staff, KnowledgeConnector staff invites you to join them and add the following information into your calendar.

Provincial Launch

The provinial launch will be broadcast live from 11:00 – noon at the following locations. To join us RSVP by following the links below.

RSVP at Hanna Learning Centre, 401 Centre Street, Hanna AB, T0J 1P0
RSVP at Medicine Hat Volunteer Centre, 954 South Railway Street SE, Medicine Hat, T1A 2W2
RSVP at Grande Prairie Volunteer Service Bureau, Unit 103, 9823 116 Ave, Grande Prairie, T8V 4B4
RSVP at Vegmin Learning Society, 4923 50th Street, Vegreville, T6C 1R4
RSVP at Volunteer Edmonton, Unit 400, 10025 106 Street, Edmonton, T5J 1G4
RSVP at Literacy Alberta, 3060 17th Ave SW, Calgary, T3E 7G8
RSVP at CiRS, Red Deer, 4728 Ross Street, Red Deer, T4N 1X2

Or, visit the following locations to watch the Provincial Knowledge Connector Broadcast:

High Level – Community Futures
Hinton – Hinton Adult Learning Society
Lethbridge – Volunteer Lethbridge
Rocky Mountain House – RDC Confluence Campus
Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) – Volunteer Wood Buffalo

To get involved in other local launch events held during the launch week contact your local Regional Capacity Coordinator.

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Enhancing Volunteerism by Creating Awarenss of Local Learning Opportunities

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

Only four months into the job, Natasha Albanese, Volunteer Development Coordinator for the City of Leduc, already has a good handle on the volunteer culture in Leduc. She has had the opportunity to get a great feel for the sense of volunteerism and community connectedness. She also realizes though, that the community is complex, fluid and dynamic. As a result she knows that although she has done a great deal of learning there will always be more learning to come!

Providing support for the variety of volunteer organizations within any community can be quite the challenge.  Take Leduc for example, they have 68 charitable organizations alone! So how can a one person department support all of these organizations?

One of the largest difficulties is communicating all of the great programs that exist to all leaders. We have all heard of the marketing statistic that an individual needs to view an ad 7 times before they become familiar with it.

Unfortunately, many volunteer departments don’t have a marketing department.

Fortunately, Volunteer Alberta developed a one-stop shop where learners and learning providers can be matched!

This is your chance to benefit Volunteer Departments in Central East Alberta by sharing learning opportunities in your area on This is a chance to connect you and all other leaders in Alberta with quality learning opportunities to create a strong sustainable province.

For more information about volunteer programming in Leduc, contact Natasha Albanese, Volunteer Development Coordinator at 780.980.7177. For more information on how you can utilize KnowledgeConnector contact me, your Regional Capacity Coordinator at 780.945.6134.

I look forward to chatting with you!

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How many balls can you juggle at once?

Posted by: in Global News, North West

Multi-Tasking: is it a requirement or a necessity in the nonprofit or volunteer organizations (NPVO)?

Juggling requires one to keep sets of three or more objects in the air at once. Balls are metaphoric to the projects we juggle or what society calls multitasking. The length of time the balls are in the air depends upon on the manageable size and weight of each ball. We may drop one of them along the way but we are quick to pick them up and start over. Society endorses constant multitasking, such as texting while you are having a conversation or reading while eating.

Would you agree with me in stating that there more women than men who are employed or work in the nonproit/volunteer sector? Some may argue that women are better multitaskers than men. There is a saying that if you want something done give it to the person that is the busiest. Well, that describes Tracey Templeton from Edson Drama Club Pandora Players to a ‘T’.

This year Pandora players have put on the ‘Show of the Century’, celebrating Edson’s centennial, remembering the music, fashion and popular culture that shaped Edson 100 years ago. Tracey wrote, produced, and directed this play with a volunteer cast and crew of 100. If that wasn’t enough she also assisted with set and costume design and co-wrote the music and lyrics… In addition to what she already had on her plate she also organized several acting workshops for the cast and crew. Did I forget to mention that she has volunteered all her time over the past year to see this project through?

This individual not only volunteers her time with the Drama Club but has created an Arts Community Hub – CANOE (Community Arts Network of Edson). Once a month, she has representatives from the arts and cultural organizations get together to share resources, brainstorm and fill bin the gaps where arts & cultural events and activities are concerned. Talk about juggling. Pandora Players and CANOE are two of the many NPVO in Edson, run by a group of dedicated volunteers.

We convince ourselves we have so much to do, why waste any time? Tracey is just one example of how multitasking demonstrates how creative we can be. In Tracey’s case, it would be fair to say that multitasking not only is a requirement but a necessity in her role as a leader in the nonprofit/volunteer organizations which provides her and the groups she affiliates herself with the flexibility and the right environment to flourish creativity.

The KnowledgeConnector looks forward to working with Pandora Players and CANOE to enhance their skills in voluntary leadership and management and to enhance the vitality and sustainability of these two community organizations.

If you have a leadership story you would like to share or would like me to visit your community please contact me .



Volunteer Burnout: Wetaskiwin Leaders Working Smarter to Bust Burnout

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

In this day and age we are finding people working harder and harder to keep up with the demands of technology and our rapidly changing environment. As a result, we are seeing incidences of exhaustion and mental illness increase. What does this mean? Volunteers and staff alike are experiencing burnout.

I was recently in Wetaskiwin and had the opportunity to visit with an amazingly inspirational individual named Manisha Khetarn, Director of the Wetaskiwin Library. I had actually just dropped by after another meeting in town and was hoping to possibly share a few words with her. I definitely ended up getting more than I was looking for! I had met her once before and at this particular visit she let me know that she was more than willing to get engaged in KnowledgeConnector and to work with me the best she could to ensure everyone in her community would be aware of and utilize it as well.

In our discussions, I discovered one of the biggest issues facing the volunteer and non-profit sector in Wetaskiwin is burnout. The community is full of extremely dedicated volunteers that put in more than their fair share of volunteering. Take Manisha for example, although she is incredibly instrumental in supporting the community I was tempted to tell her she should take it easy! In the last month alone, she volunteered close to 200 hours while managing the bustling library. I got the impression that other like-minded individuals in Wetaskiwin are also eagerly dedicating many hours but taking no time for themselves.

There is always so much to do but little time. I believe this is why Manisha welcomed me with open arms when I informed her that KnowledgeConnector is here to support her and other volunteers to more effectively achieve their missions. Why work harder when you can work smarter?

So after our discussions, Manisha and I decided we should take action. We have planned a workshop for Thursday, May 19th, at 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm in the Wetaskiwin Library. There we will be assessing learning needs and matching learning opportunities for managers, board members and senior volunteers to create more efficiency and less burnout. Contact Manisha or me for more information on how you can get involved!

Victoria Poschadel,

Manisha Khetarn,

For more information on Volunteer Burnout click here!

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The Face of Leadership in Rural Alberta

Posted by: in Global News, North West

Did you know there are over 19,000 nonprofit organizations in Alberta… and that 54% of those 19,000 have no paid staff? Organizations in Alberta report a volunteer complement of 2.5 million people, who collectively contribute about 449 million hours of volunteer time, the equivalent of approximately 234,000 full-time jobs.

That’s a lot of full-time jobs!

Here is the key for these organizations: Volunteer Alberta is launching an exciting new initiative called the KnowledgeConnector which is an online hub that will connect leaders in the nonprofit and voluntary sector with learning and training opportunities throughout Rural Alberta. It is all about creating a passion for learning!

Leaders come in various forms. Leadership is about attitude, skills and knowledge. Our community sustainability and growth relies on building strong those leaders.

The KnowledgeConnector will be used as an effective tool for enhancing the capacity of nonprofit/voluntary organizations, and in turn, promoting the growth, prosperity and quality of life in rural Alberta through learning opportunities.

Follow me along on the Journey as each week the NW Regional Blog will highlight a community volunteer/nonprofit organization. Also this blog will be providing followers with updates or links to various learning opportunities.

Now this is where I need your help. If you have pictures or stories relating to “the face of leadership in Rural Alberta” and you would like to share please submit them to

Keeping Rural Alberta Connected….

Yvonne Rempel, NW Regional Capacity Coordinator

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Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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