Cultivating a Space to Grow

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Sep 13, 2021 | Blog

I’ve never met a metaphor about growth or the garden that I didn’t love (let that be a warning: plant puns ahead). That speaks to my personality, which is at times a bit sentimental, generally optimistic, and in search of beautiful things, but also how I approach my role at Vantage Point.

As the Education & Projects Coordinator, I work with our team of staff and Knowledge Philanthropists to coordinate educational workshops and labs for not-for-profit leaders, and I directly support participants to obtain bursaries and other resources to help them meet their learning goals. In other words, I cultivate opportunities and environments for gardeners to grow.

Most of my (literal) gardening happens in small containers on my apartment-sized fire-escape, or on our building’s front stoop, and this is where I learn the most. Whether that’s through a success like harvesting fruit from a space where the conditions weren’t optimal, the joy of sharing bounty with those around me, or through a failure like losing an entire harvest overnight to pests, each season my garden teaches me more about patience, humility, collaboration, abundance, and resilience; and I strive to bring those lessons into my work.

By nature, a plant is designed and destined to thrive, and I like to apply this same lens to our work as a sector. Look at any wildflower and you’ll see that a plant doesn’t need a gardener to grow, but gardens (and communities) can flourish with the resources, knowledge, and support that a caregiver brings.

The seeds were planted early for me to grow into this role, having participated in our Emerging Leaders lab (an early iteration of what is now Leadership Principles) back in 2014. The experience was foundational in my journey as a leader in Vancouver’s festival community, and I often looked to Vantage Point for resources and support as an organizational member. So, naturally, as I entered a season of change in my career – leaning away from events and towards opportunities that focused on people development – the opportunity to join the Vantage Point team felt like a gift.

Just as Vantage Point was pivotal in my success as a leader, my experience in the sector prepared me for this role and I am grateful to be able to pull from my past experiences in leadership and administration to be able to better support our clients and members. My passion for our work is honest and comes from the firsthand experience in knowing how impactful our learning opportunities can be, how vital community learning is, and how our bursary programs can open doors that are out of reach for so many organizations. My heart feels at home each day when I can show up and support leaders who support their communities.

In hindsight I can draw a line throughout my life connecting significant experiences to this theme, whether it was growing up with a parent who managed a flower shop, my early career as a hairdresser, or more than a decade of producing festivals, I have always been drawn to the cycle of sowing, growing, blooming, and harvesting in community.

As the fall creeps closer, we’re entering a period of harvest – both in our gardens and in our calendar – at Vantage Point as we launch some of our most intensive labs and workshops that challenge the status quo. It’s a balance of labour and celebration, and a period that always encourages reflection for me. Of all the things my garden has taught me, this might be my favourite: If you plant nothing, at the end of the season you’ll have nothing. But if you plant something, and you share even just a little of your time, resources, and heart you might end up with something beautiful.

It’s within that space of possibility that all my favourite things happen, and where I get to meet so many of our members, clients, and Knowledge Philanthropists. I hope to grow alongside you soon.

Samantha Kannegieter headshot


Samantha Kannegieter

Samantha (or Sam) is our Education and Projects Coordinator where she works with clients to support registration and delivery programs. Sam has spent the last twelve years involved with Vancouver’s not-for-profit and arts communities. Specifically, in festivals with the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society……

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