“As the eternal optimist, I seek change as a process of improvement and getting to better places. I believe that change refreshes, allows new perspectives, challenges outdated thinking.” – Alison Brewin, Change: My Takeaways as an Executive Director
At the end of April, after three years of hard work and dedication as Executive Director, Alison departed from Vantage Point. Alison led Vantage Point through profound change and transformation, focusing the organization on a path of sector development and convening many not-for-profit leaders along the way.
In honour of Alison’s contributions to our team, Vantage Point as a whole, and BC’s not-for-profit sector, we would like to highlight her achievements in demonstrating each of our five team values – the first being her implementation of these values to unite our staff and stakeholders in our vision and mission.
Abundance & Adaptability
Strengths-based | Encouragement + Support | Openness | Make it happen! | Flexibility | Learn from mistakes
It is clear when interacting with Alison that she cares deeply about people. Staff felt this when we were reminded to take time for ourselves and find ways to relax when the work became intense – whether because of COVID-19 or due to it just being “that time of year”.
When the pandemic hit, Alison was quick to develop weekly, then bi-weekly, updates on how the team was fairing and our latest accomplishments, as well as process adventures. It was a great way to “stay together” while we stayed apart – a phrase we are all too familiar with at this point. This encouragement, support, and celebration of the team’s work gave an over-arching view of the impact we were having on the sector and lifted the group’s morale.
It is no surprise the biggest test of adaptability came in the form of the pandemic. For many of us, it is the largest change we have ever faced and continues to test each of us in different ways. As the leader of a growing team, Alison quickly took action to make sure the staff had the resources they needed to feel safe “at work”. For Vantage Point, this meant moving everyone from an office space which promoted social connections and quick collaboration to remote and isolated work. And yet, Alison maintained a certain level of social connection and collaboration throughout the team by implementing the necessary technology and experimenting with different ways to communicate with each other until we found a system that worked.
Working from home presents natural challenges, but Alison’s spirit of abundance allowed team members to attend meetings as they are and encouraged us to take care of ourselves so we could take care of our communities.
Solutions Focused | Accountability + Follow-through | Open, Timely, Straightforward Communications
Alison prioritized strong relationships with other organizations and stakeholders – not only during the pandemic (which were essential in our ability to deliver our services and opportunities), but throughout her entire time as Executive Director. We are incredibly grateful for these relationships and recognize many of them are due to Alison’s obvious care for making positive change in the sector.
Alison worked closely with partners and funders on several successful initiatives. This includes two reports on the impacts of COVID-19 on BC’s not-for-profit sector. We were able to see tangible data on the current state of the sector and, through this, identify opportunities for the sector and government to support the sustainability of not-for-profit and charitable organizations.
Alison recognized the potential to completely reframe our relationship with our members – as collaborators. Alison’s vision for amplifying the voice of the sector through the power of convening as member organizations and sector leaders, is the foundation of our Membership.
In this work, Alison built a strategic partnership with Propellus’ Volunteer Connector to update GoVolunteer. Originally a platform launched in the early 2000’s for organizations to post volunteer opportunities, GoVolunteer merged with Propellus’ Volunteer Connector thanks to Alison’s ability to bring people and initiatives together. GoVolunteer remains a resource hub for BC organizations and volunteers, while the capabilities of Volunteer Connector create additional opportunities.
Research + Ask Questions | Personal + Professional Growth | Open-minded
Alison’s curiosity and dedication to learning is a key component in her work to identify what people and organizations need when shaping our services over the past few years. Alison’s instinct to ask “What if?” at each turn encouraged the team to be open-minded towards the possibilities of what we could achieve. Alison’s impact is demonstrated in the numerous Sector Development campaign achievements, calling on government to act in support of the sector.
Alison’s deep social justice roots and commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, propelled individual and team learning in Indigenous cultural competence, decolonizing practices, and anti-oppression understanding. We have each moved along in our journey in learning what it means to individually be anti-racist and contribute to building an anti-racist organization.
Laughter + Joy | Playful | Team Gatherings
Finally, our team value of fun showed up in Alison’s dedication to our weekly happy half hours every Thursday, her ability to see the humour in challenges, and her desire to celebrate and recognize team members for their work.
Alison, you truly transformed Vantage Point and we will carry your vision forward with care. We wish you all the best as you adapt to new grand adventures with a curious and collaborative approach, and the ability to find abundance, humour, and fun wherever you go.
All our best,
Your Vantage Point team.
We are a team of passionate and dedicated not-for-profit professionals dedicated to providing not-for-profits with high quality leadership training. We are here to set you up for success. Learn more about our team at www.thevantagepoint.ca/about/our-people/
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