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Posts Tagged ‘Learning’


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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Christmas Trivia, A Learning Moment…

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

As the Christmas holiday quickly approaches (9 days if you are counting) we catch ourselves rushing around to find that perfect gift, wrapping presents and making the traditional christmas baking treats (butter tarts are my favorite this time of year along with steamed plum pudding with caramel sauce). We often get wrapped up in the “getting ready” stage that we forget to take the time to really understand the true meaning of Christmas and the traditions we follow.  So from my house to yours – “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”. Enjoy!

The word Christmas comes from the old English “Cristes maesse” meaning Christ’s Mass. The Holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The actual birthday of Jesus is not known; therefore, the early Church Fathers in the 4th century fixed the day around the old Roman Saturnalia festival (17 – 21 December), a traditional pagan festivity. The first mention of the birthday of Jesus is from the year 354 AD. Gradually all Christian churches, except Armenians who celebrate Christmas on January 6 (the date of the baptism of Jesus as well as the day of the three Magi), accepted the date of December 25th.

Christmas Day itself is the day for opening gifts brought by jolly old St. Nick. Many of our current ideals about the way Christmas ought to be derive from the English Victorian Christmas, such as that described in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

The caroling, the gifts, the feast, and the wishing of good cheer to all – these ingredients came together to create that special Christmas atmosphere.

The custom of gift-giving on Christmas goes back to Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Kalends. The very first gifts were simple items such as twigs from a sacred grove as good luck emblems. Soon that escalated to food, small items of jewelry, candles, and statues of gods. To the early Church, gift-giving at this time was a pagan holdover and therefore severely frowned upon. However, people would not part with it, and some justification was found in the original gift giving of the Magi, and from figures such as St. Nicholas. By the Middle-ages gift giving was accepted. Before then it was more common to exchange gifts on New Year’s Day or Twelfth Night.

Santa Claus is known by British children as Father Christmas. Father Christmas, these days, is quite similar to Santa, but his direct ancestor is a certain pagan spirit who regularly appeared in medieval mummer’s plays. The old-fashioned Father Christmas was depicted wearing long robes with sprigs of holly in his long white hair. Children write letters to Father Christmas detailing their requests, but instead of dropping them in the mailbox, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draft carries the letters up the chimney, and theoretically, Father Christmas reads the smoke. Gifts are opened Christmas afternoon.

From the English we get a story to explain the custom of hanging stockings from the mantelpiece. Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins while coming down the chimney. The coins would have fallen through the ash grate and been lost if they hadn’t landed in a stocking that had been hung out to dry. Since that time children have continued to hang out stockings in hopes of finding them filled with gifts.

The custom of singing carols at Christmas is also of English origin. During the Middle-ages, groups of serenaders called waits would travel around from house to house singing ancient carols and spreading the holiday spirit. The word carol means “song of you.” Most of the popular old carols we sing today were written in the nineteenth century.

The hanging of greens, such as holly and ivy, is a British winter tradition with origins far before the Christian era. Greenery was probably used to lift sagging winter spirits and remind the people that Spring was not far away. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is descended from ancient Druid rites. The decorating of Christmas trees, though primarily a German custom, has been widely popular in England since 1841 when Prince Albert had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle for his wife Queen Victoria, and their children.

 Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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What’s In A Name…

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Every community throughout rural Alberta has something to brag or boast about. This week I am highlighting such a community; let me introduce you to the Town of Beaverlodge….

Beaverlodge is a little town with a lot to offer. In the summer you can find people swimming at the Beaverlodge pool or Redwillow River, playing baseball, golfing, camping, quadding at the base (Saskatoon Mountain) and other local trails, fishing at Spring Lake, paintballing, dirt biking at the motocross track, and skateboarding. In the winter month’s people enjoy skiing and ice fishing at spring lake resort, skating at the indoor and outdoor arena, curling, sledding on local trails and into the mountains, and hunting (

Large landmarks are starting to appear all over Canada, nowhere truer than in Alberta. Beaverlodge celebrated its 75th Anniversary of incorporation on July 21, 2004, and part of our celebration included the unveiling of a Giant Beaver Sculpture on our highway corridor. Our Beaver is a remarkable roadside attraction surrounded by interpretive signage (history,
habitat, behavior of the animal, along with Town information.) The sculpture is 15 feet high, 28 feet long and weighs 3000 pounds. A must to see in Northwestern Alberta on your way up the Alaska Highway. Also featured in:

The library offers a bookclub, storytime for children 2-5 years of age, an after school program for ages 9-12, a summer reading program, Partners in Reading, and a meeting room for rent. Whether you are relaxing or researching you can browse through books or surf the net on one of the 3 internet stations, or bring your own laptop to take advantage of the library’s wireless connection. Also you can learn a second language through the library or attend NAIT & GPRC through Distance Learning. For more information call Shelly at 780-354-2569. To Learn more about the library, visit us at

There is so much more to learn about Beaverlodge that I can not highlight everything; so check out the list of attractions, events and activities with a click of a mouse or if you are in the neighborhood

Does your community have a roadside attraction, or a historical significance in the north-west region? Let me know; and you and your community will be highlighted in one of our weekly blogs.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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Using Coaching to Lead, a Learning Opportunity

Posted by: in North West

I have a tendency to bump Self-Awareness and Development (one of the KnowledgeConnector’s 6 A.S.K. Leadership Competencies) down on the priority list – some may say its procrastination – there is always something more important on the life/work “to-do list”.

This month I am putting myself at the top of the priority list (or at least in the top three…) and making a conscious effort to work towards a better balanced work-life, not sure what the actual vision is or where it might take me but I have given myself permission to create a learning challenge.

I guess what speared me to action was the ACE retreat that I had attended two weeks ago (check out my post on Oct. 14th).

I had an opportunity to participate in a Leadership West Yellowhead cohosted by Grande Cache Community Adult Learning “Coaching to Lead Workshop” facilitated by Loie Unwin. This workshop was a perfect introduction for anyone wanting to learn more about taking the Coach Approach to improve their communication in the workplace, the community and at home. The Coach Approach teaches you two key skills – listening and asking the right questions.
Guaranteed to change your conversation in the community, workplace and at home.

So what did I get out of it or learn you ask? Well it reaffirmed that I need to make or take more to actually listen and slow down and the “coach approach” is not necessarily a new tool for my toolbox but it provided me with a different approach in working and dealing with people in my work and personal life (moments of self-reflection).  Many of us are C.P.A’s when dealing with people (continuous, partial, attention – yet another acronym).  I hate to admit it but I had become one of them and now it us up to me to work on improving that skill and using it

I have caught the “learning bug” and I am curious to see what’s next on my learning plan.

I challenge you to update your learning plan by checking out KnowledgeConnector to view the list of learning opportunities available in your region

Here are some great resources to follow up with for the “Coach Approach”:

  • Coaching that Counts, by Dianna & Merrill Anderson
  • 365 Coaching Questions, by Hendren, Rupert & Richarde
  • Coaching Outside the Box

Also if you currently reside in the West Yellowhead Region, check out Leadership West Yellowhead 2012 Program Guide, they are now accepting registrations for the new program year.

Here is to Life Long Learning…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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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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Self Awareness and Learning to Say “No”

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

I had the great opportunity of visiting the Village of Holden last night. I held an ASK Leadership Assessment workshop and was able to work with the big movers and shakers of this urban village. There was not one attendee who wasn’t heavily involved with more than three organizations. Yes, you read that right, every one of them is highly engaged in their community. So much so, that one of the common learning goals among the group, was to learn how to say no.

With a population of only 398 there is a lot of action in this Village. Here are just a few of the organizations and initiatives that were represented at the workshop. From this list you may guess why the group of 7 last night don’t have much capacity left for too much else!

For such a small Village I definitely saw a huge sense of community, organization and drive. Not only that, the group was all very hardworking and excited to enhance their leadership skills. They are all so hard-working and polite that none of them would ever want to disappoint and turn a volunteer job down.

I was glad they took the opportunity to participate in an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop because the learning goal many had set at the beginning of the workshop came shining through once the assessments were complete. What leadership competency does “saying no” relate to? Self Awareness. Donna from the North East region said, ‘by saying no we are admitting we understand our limitations and when we have reached a limit…this is why we often hear about people wanting to take control by learning to say “no”! 

A great learning opportunity that builds self-awareness is being offered through the HR Council for Nonprofits. To find out about this self-awareness tool called 360 Feedback click here. If you would like to book a workshop with me to discover your leadership learning priorities give me a shout!  

Victoria Poschadel | p. 780.945.6134 | e.

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Cultural Idiosyncrasies: Rural Alberta vs. Mexico

Posted by: in Central East, Central West, Uncategorized

I am blogging from Mexico and thought I would share some thoughts on cultural similarities and differences between rural Alberta and sunny Playa de Carmen. Although I am away it is hard to forget that the launch of just transpired and how exciting the implications this will have for rural Albertans in the nonprofit/voluntary sector. So let me share some observations on the idiosyncrasies that rural Alberta and Mexico share and why my excitement about the new phase of is growing.

Rural Albertans are smart and hardworking yet know how to slow the pace of life down in comparison to urban centres. Like Mexicans, many realize the value of taking time to slow down. In general, I see many Albertans, like myself, working hard to do a great job and invest in their community. In Playa, I also witness a culture of very hardworking people. That may sound surprising as Mexico is known to have a culture that is relaxed and involves siestas, time on the beach and slack work hours.

Now, don’t get me wrong, rural Alberta most definitely contains organizations that are moving along as fast or faster than their urban counter parts. And the same goes for some Mexican organizations. In general though, the pace seems slower from an outsider’s perspective. But, that does not mean that there is less work going on. In fact, the opposite may be true. Here in Play de Carmen, I see the street vendors and workers working extremely hard, albeit on their shorter work days. They are so motivated and determined to offer only the best to all of their clients and customers. On the same token, I see rural Albertans working just as hard to offer their best to their organization and community.

An advantage Alberta now has over Playa de Carmen, is that we are now able to work even smarter using the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment online via We can learn how to work smarter rather than harder by utilizing our assessed leadership skills. We can then learn how to strengthen our leadership gaps to do our job more efficiently so that we can do our job at a pace that does not burn us out. Yes, balance is the key to success in both the Mexican and Rural Alberta cultures and now we just learned how to do it even better.

If you haven’t filled out the online A.S.K. Leadership Assessment yet get started! If you would like to have an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop facilitated for your board or staff give me a shout so you can get started on working more efficiently with your leadership skill set to make time for your siesta.

Victoria Poschadel | p: 780-945-6134 | e:


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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 – 23 | Things are going to change

Posted by: in Central East

That’s right folks. September 19-23, 2011 is launch week for the second phase of will connect Alberta’s nonprofit/volunatry organizations to learning and professional leadership like never before. You will be able to use the online A.S.K Assessment to determine what Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge would personally benefit you and your organization to help make you the leader you were always meant to be. Access courses, training, and other learning opportunities in Alberta’s rural communities. This will truly be the “one-stop-shop” that enables you to locate a wide range of professional development and leadership opportunities – with just a few clicks of the mouse.

In honor of the launch, the Central East region will have events throughout the week enabling you to discover how you can personally benefit from the full capabilities of To attend the provincial launch in Hanna, AB click here to view more details or click here to RSVP.

To attend one of the following events simply give me a call.

  • September 19: Hanna Provincial Launch Presentation, 11-12pm, 401 Centre St. Hanna Learning Centre, Hanna, AB
  • Septebmer 19: Hanna Open House Launch Celebration, 12 – 1 pm, 401 Centre St. Hanna Learning Centre, Hanna, AB
  • September 21: Wetaskiwin A.S.K. Workshop , 11:30-12:30pm, Wetaskiwin Public Library, 5002 51 Ave, Wetaskiwin, AB
  • September 21: Wetaskiwin A.S.K Leadership Assessment Workshop, 12:30 – 3:00 pm, Wetaskiwin Public Library, 5002 51 Ave, Wetaskiwin, AB
  • September 22: Drumheller Open House Launch, 11-1pm, 224 Centre Street, Public Library, Drumheller, AB
  • September 23: Killam Open House Launch, 10:30-12pm, Flagstaff Community Adult Learning, 5005 50 Street, Killam, AB
  • September 23: Killam A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop 12-2 pm, Flagstaff Community Adult Learning, 5005 50 Street, Killam, AB

I look forward to connecting with all of you at one of the upcoming events!!

Victoria Poschadel | p: 780.945.6134 |

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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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Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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