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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

Episode 69:

Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

This month’s podcast features Mark Friesen, a familiar face at Vantage Point for his work on the team as a consultant for many years. Mark was instrumental in the development of our Capacity Lab, a series of learning opportunities designed for not-for-profit leaders to apply the Lifecycles Model. It allows them to take a step back from the day-to-day to identify where their organization’s growing pains exist and strategize how to move forward. In this episode, Mark explains the Lifecycles Model and how Capacity Lab came to be out of a need for this overarching self-evaluation, and a space where leaders can convene to support each other in their assessments and strategic planning. 

Mark Friesen is the Executive Director at Columbia College, Canada’s longest established International not-for-profit college. He currently facilitates a monthly peer network of leaders dedicated to reimagining governance in the non-profit sector. Mark has served as a volunteer, association founder, and an executive director, and has led fundraising, strategic planning and program development efforts in the sector for over 20 years. During his time at Vantage Point, BC’s leading not-for-profit capacity builder, Mark shifted his focus to governance; working with groups to enhance or redefine organizational decision making. Working with the Crown Agency Board Resourcing Office of BC, Mark guided the province to shift the governance and training material of BC’s public sector organizations away from shareholder accountability and towards governance in the public interest. 

Mark obtained his Masters’ in Urban Studies at SFU, where he received a Graduate Fellowship in 2012, the Doug Drummond Research Fellowship in 2013, and graduated with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal in 2015 for his research into governance at the scale of the city-region. He served on the City of Vancouver Election Task Force, is Chair of the Our Place Inner City Governance Committee, and sits on the Board of the Ripple Coast Society. When it comes to governance, Mark has a unique perspective on the role that not-for-profits have in supporting a democratic society which you can explore here: https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_friesen_rediscovering_democracy_in_our_communities 

Columbia College is BC’s oldest university transfer educational institution. Their mission is to foster student success, build a desire for lifelong learning, and provide pathways to higher education. Columbia College nurtures community engagement and prepares international students for life in Canada. Through teaching excellence and a commitment to student support, the Columbia College community values an inclusive and mutually respectful learning environment. 

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 68 – Workplace Culture & Policy Planning: Fat Inclusion

Episode 68:

Workplace Culture & Policy Planning: Fat Inclusion

This month’s podcast shines a light on fat employees and how leaders can build safe working environments for employees of any size!

Sasha Burden joins From Our Vantage Point for a great discussion on what inclusion in the not-for-profit (and for-profit) workplace looks like when it comes to employees of size: What are some things to consider when planning team building activities? How do we account for fat employees’ needs in HR policies? We even discuss healthy ways to talk about health.

We hope this episode answers some of your “taboo” questions relating to culture and policy planning.

Sasha (she/her) is a white, fat, queer, feminist femme, who lives, works, and loves on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. A lifelong student, community activist, and current Board Member at Large at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre, Sasha’s roots in fat activism began as a student at Langara College and continued to develop in her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and beyond. With over a decade of experience in front-line services in the not-for-profit sector, and with a personal interest in the ways fatness intersects with discourse around health and fitness, food, sexuality, education, and work, she offers her insights into these topic points while continuing to recognize her own social location, privilege and personal lens.

In her spare time, you can find Sasha with her dog, Chips, listening to countless podcasts and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 67 – How Government Supports Our Sector

Episode 67:

How Government Supports Our Sector

In a special edition podcast, Director of Government Relations and Sector Development Cherie Payne guest hosts a conversation with Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development and Non-Profits, Niki Sharma. Niki was appointed her role as a first for BC’s provincial government in 2020 and has lots to say about her work bridging the connection between not-for-profits and government.

Together, Cherie and Niki cover an array of topics, from emerging gender inequality trends and insights in the work force since the start of Covid-19, childcare funding allocation and unique community needs, and how decisions around funding the not-for-profit sector are made in government at all levels.

We hope you enjoy!

Time Stamps:

(00:10) | Intro
(01:06) | Interview Start
(01:48) | Re-cap of the year and next term priorities
(04:55) | Representing Vancouver-Hastings
(06:17) | How government is addressing gender inequality
(08:10) | Childcare, funding allocations, and regional disparities
(12:07) | Ad: Humanity Financial
(13:13) | Not-for-profits in the provincial budget
(16:04) | Not-for-profits as employers
(18:22) | Provincial and local government partnerships
(20:50) | Affordable housing plans
(23:25) | Closing statements
(24:01) | Outro

Niki Sharma was elected MLA for Vancouver – Hastings in 2020 and is the Deputy Caucus Chair and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. She is also a member of the Treasury Board and the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts. 

Niki is a lawyer whose practice focused on representing Indigenous people, including residential school survivors. Niki has worked across B.C. as an advocate on climate policy and reconciliation. She has also been recognized for her work on combatting racism.  

Niki was elected to the Board of Vancity Credit Union, where she served as Vice-Chair and chaired the Climate Justice Working Group. She also served as Chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. In these roles, she worked to improve her community and make life better for people and our planet. 

In 2017, Niki worked as a Senior Ministerial Assistant helping to deliver more childcare spaces for B.C. families.  

Niki was raised in Sparwood B.C. A mother of two, she has lived in East Vancouver for over 15 years and has deep connections in the community.  

Source: https://bcndpcaucus.ca/mla/niki-sharma/

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 66 – Food for Thought

Episode 66:

Food for Thought

We centre food insecurity in the Lower Mainland with Zahra Esmail, Executive Director of South Van Neighbourhood House, and Upkar Singh Tatlay, Executive Director of Engaged Communities Canada Society in this very special podcast. While food insecurity is the theme, Zahra, Upkar, and podcast host Rowan discuss how racial biases impact the lives of immigrants, refugees, and street-entrenched individuals and how ECCS and Neighbourhood House support the work to meet their needs.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

Zahra Esmail has been the Executive Director of the vibrant South Vancouver Neighbourhood House since 2016, and is the first Executive Director of the Marpole Neighbourhood House, which opened under her leadership in 2019. With a background in community development, her current portfolio includes food security, settlement and integration services, licensed childcare, children and family development, youth leadership, seniors wellness, and Adult Day Programs. Prior to her current role, Zahra was the General Manager of Eva’s Phoenix, a transitional shelter and training program in Toronto. She has also worked in international development with Street Kids International, Haven Haiti and BRAC with responsibility for programs in Haiti, India, the Philippines, Colombia, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia. Zahra was recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 in 2019.

About South Vancouver Neighbourhood House

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) is a community-based organization that focuses on connecting people and strengthening the neighbourhoods in South Vancouver. Located at Victoria Drive and 49th Avenue, SVNH serves the Sunset, Victoria-Fraserview, and Killarney-Champlain neighbourhoods. Programs and services are determined by conditions within each community and by the needs and interests of the people living in that community. Current programs and services include Seniors’ Wellness, Youth Leadership, Licensed Preschool and Out-of-School Care, Parenting and Family Resource Programs, Settlement Services for Newcomers, Food Security, Literacy, and Adult Day Programs, Community Engagement Events, and more. Each year, over 7,000 individuals participate in our programs, which are run in partnership with almost 700 volunteers.

Upkar smiling at the camera, in front of branches of a pine tree.

Upkar Singh Tatlay resides and works on the unceded territory of the Semiahmoo First Nation where he oversees research, data-collection, and the development of health care innovations and experimental development R&D projects at Oxus Machine Works Ltd. In addition to this, he is an academic supervisor who provides research consultancy services to government, health authorities, academic institutions, and centres for disease control. Upkar is also the Executive Director of Engaged Communities Canada Society, and has delivered targeted solutions on climate change, substance use, homelessness, food security challenges and youth challenges. His academic credentials include certifications from the Justice Institute of BC, degrees from the University of Victoria, and the University of British Columbia where he helped establish the Scientific Creative Quarterly. Upkar is the current Vice President of the DIVERSEcity Board of Director and one of the Founder’s and current Treasurer of the South Asian Community Hub. He is the host of the “Hypatia Talks“ podcast, Co-founder of Sundar Expo 2022, a Commissioner with Vital Statistics BC, and a member of the Radius SFU social innovation hub.

About Engaged Communities Canada Society

Engaged Communities Canada Society aims to address the systemic gaps that exist for underserved communities across British Columbia’s lower mainland region in accessing equitable solutions to complex health challenges. Our efforts are targeted to the community’s most vulnerable, including IBPoC populations, those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, children and youth, and individuals experiencing challenges related to socioeconomic factors and addiction.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 65 – All Things HiVE

Episode 65:

All Things HiVE

Anna Whelan, Executive Director of the HiVE, and Board Member Juliana Craig, join us to introduce Vancouver’s only not-for-profit coworking space. Here we discuss what the HiVE’s pandemic recovery looks like and how collaboration and community have bolstered and uplifted staff, members, and the sector in general throughout times of change.


HiVE Vancouver is a not-for-profit social enterprise serving the social venture community. Their space is a unique coworking space located in the Gastown neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC. They are home to change makers, social enterprises, environmental sustainability groups, and other creative class individuals that support social and environmental sustainability. With over 100 desks, three board rooms and 9,000 square feet of space, there’s a home for just about everyone at the HiVE.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 64 – Nav Passes the Baton

Episode 64:

Nav Passes the Baton

This week, Nav joins the podcast from the other side of the From Our Vantage Point table and discusses her work at Vantage Point, her vision for the podcast, and what’s next. Nav is the new Marketing & Communications Manager at Take a Hike Foundation, although many know her as the voice of the Vantage Point podcast. Listen in on this brief chat to mark the end of an era and join Rowan as he picks up where Nav leaves off as the third host of From Our Vantage Point.


Take a Hike Foundation engages vulnerable youth in a full-time program of intensive and continuous clinical counselling, outdoor adventure, academics, and community. They partner with public school districts who provide a high-quality education, and together empower youth with the skills and resilience they need to graduate high school, build healthy relationships, and navigate their own path to success.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 63 – Democracy, Equity, and Climate Change – oh my!

Episode 63:

Democracy, Equity, and Climate Change – oh my!

Our April podcast brings an in-depth conversation with Elodie Jacquet, Manager of Knowledge and Practice at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. We chat about democracy, equity, climate change, and how they come together to form many intersections within the sector. We chat about what must change, how systems can be addressed, and building the future.


The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue The Centre uses dialogue and engagement to facilitate transformative conversations and create real-world impact for society’s most pressing challenges. They strengthen Canadian democracy by promoting democratic values and innovation, spread best practices by providing dialogue training and tools, and help governments to engage citizens and stakeholders through our consulting services.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 62 – Sharing the Wealth: How to Decolonize Philanthropy

Episode 62:

Sharing the Wealth: How to Decolonize Philanthropy

In this in-depth conversation with Kris Archie, Chief Executive Officer of The Circle, we discuss the colonial nature of philanthropy and how it upholds white supremacy in the not-for-profit sector and affected communities. Then, we imagine how a decolonized philanthropy model could look and explore the necessary steps to reach an equitable funding system.


The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (The Circle) transforms philanthropy and contributes to positive change between Philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation. The Circle works alongside Indigenous-led organizations, Indigenous informed organizations, organizations with Indigenous beneficiaries, our members and philanthropic signatories of The Declaration of Action to encourage individuals and organizations to learn, acknowledge, and understand more about reconciliation and the decolonization of wealth.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 61 – Philanthropic Narratives and Why They Matter

Episode 61:

Philanthropic Narratives and Why They Matter

Dorla Tune, Organizational Consultant at Vantage Point, joins us to chat about philanthropic narratives and the impacts they can have on our communities, how funds are allocated, and who works within those narratives. We have a frank and honest discussion about what needs to change and why philanthropic narratives matter.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 60 – How to Create the Future When Life is Uncertain

Episode 60:

How to Create the Future When Life is Uncertain

Hildy Gottlieb, co-founder of Creating the Future, and Omar Dominguez, former Director of Government Relations and Sector Development at Vantage Point, join us to chat about catalytic thinking and how it can be used to create the future through uncertainty. We will use our upcoming revamped BOSS conference as a case study as we dive into an innovative new way of thinking.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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