Everyday faculty and staff are reaching outside themselves to volunteer their time, be a part of their community and engage with their neighbours.
Tell us your story and inspire others to begin their journey.
I volunteer on the board of Geordie, a theater company presenting plays for children and youth.
A McGill colleague, Brett Hooton, approached me about a fundraising event - acting in a play - for Geordie in 2018 and 2019. I enjoyed the experience so much that in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, I joined the board.
I dedicate part of my time to this organization because I want to contribute to a great cause: to allow children to be able to unleash their creativity and connect with each other through theater.
I didn't know much about the theater world when Brett first approached me. This experience has allowed me to discover this world and to get out of my comfort zone. It also makes me very happy to contribute to an organization that makes a difference in the lives of young and old alike!
I am a volunteer committee member for the McGill Centraide Campaign, and I sit on the board of #PSEWEB, an annual digital marketing conference for Canadian colleges and universities. I first volunteered with Centraide/The United Way in 2007 at the encouragement of my employer at the time. With #PSEWEB, I began presenting at the #PSEWEB conference in 2018 and was invited to join the board the following year.
I chose to volunteer for these organizations because it was a way for me to support others in my community, have interesting experiences and gain new skills.
Through my volunteering experience I learned that while supporting your community, you’re also creating opportunities for yourself. Volunteering gives you the chance to develop new skills in a nurturing environment. I know I wouldn’t have many of the abilities I have today if I’d never volunteered.
Yves Beauchamp, Vice Principal (Administration and Finance), has sat on more than twenty boards since the beginning of his career as an engineer. This is how he explains his passion for volunteering: “When you volunteer your time, you help, you learn, you give back to your community and you always get something back yourself.”As the years have gone by, he has racked up opportunities to join the board of institutions in all areas, like Collège Ahuntsic, Sainte-Justine hospital, industrial organizations, and centres of research excellence—to mention but a few. Boards require quite a bit of your time and energy; you have to attend meetings, listen, prepare, identify possible solutions and act on the best among them. But as Yves says, “It ’s all worth it. Not a meeting goes by when you don’t build a connection.”
Yves looks back on the many experiences he has had and finds that connection and communication are always key. One of the highlights for him has been his work with the Laval Cosmodome. The Cosmodome has a crucial social mission to bring science to young people, and it can be a challenge to choose the exhibitions while keeping the institution’s bottom line in check. For Yves, sitting on boards is an excellent way to learn about the many different kinds of organizations and missions, and about the many possible governance models. “You walk away with something for yourself, and in return, you give something back. And when people appreciate your contribution, it makes you want to keep going.”
Yves Beauchamp is particularly busy these days, so he has had to cut the number of boards he volunteers for down to three: the Canadian Academy of Engineering, an organization that represents engineers and where, since 2014, he has served as treasurer, secretary, president-elect and president; Inno-centre, an organization that supports emerging businesses and innovation and where he has been a member of the board since 2013; and the renowned Pointe-à-Callière museum of history and archaeology in Montréal, where he has been a member of the board of tru
stees and president of the capital investment committee since 2010. These three positions span a great length of time and expose Yves to a wide range of experiences.
What does Yves have to say to people who want to volunteer but might not be ready to take the plunge?
Without hesitation, he says, “Volunteering helps you build relationships. You’ll always have conversations that will bring you something of value as a person. You have to seize every opportunity. It’s a way to step out of your own routine and gain a much broader vision o
f what is happening out there. You support the people in these organizations, and you are there to help them. It’s also a great reminder that you are part of a larger community!”