April 24, 2006, marked Volunteer Vancouver’s annual Volunteer Recognition Awards event. Over 800 community members celebrated many inspiring volunteers at the Westin Bay Shore Hotel that evening. It was also my first day with Vantage Point.
I started as the Program Manager for the Canada Volunteerism Initiative – BC Region. The role drew on my volunteer engagement experience, multi-stakeholder engagement, and facilitation from my positions with the Canadian and British Red Cross Societies, Oxfam Canada, and Amnesty International.
I was fresh out of my MBA from INSEAD in 2006, and Volunteer Vancouver was quick to consider other ways to engage my skills and interests when the CVI initiative was wrapped up less than a year later. I moved into our expertise area of not-for-profit governance, developing, facilitating, and engaging skilled volunteers in our training services. Leading our custom board governance work during an early period of organizational evolution equipped me to take on new internal management responsibilities while fostering the governance “geek” in me!
Fast forward through the last 14 years, travelling upwards on the lifecycle growth curve (personally, professionally, and organizationally), from becoming a Mum and moving to Nexwlélexm in 2010 to taking on the role of Associate Executive Director in 2011, it’s been a robust and energizing journey.
Today, I am privileged to lead and learn alongside the delivery team at Vantage Point through our services’ ongoing evolution to strengthen not-for-profit organizations in BC – from our open enrolment workshops and labs to our custom and onsite training, strategic planning, and consulting. The work is wildly diverse and plays equally to my instinctive role as a connector (to people, resources, ideas, etc.) and my key strengths, articulated by my StrengthsFinder Top 5: “woo” (or winning others over), adaptability, communication, strategic, and positivity.
The people I have journeyed with since 2006 as a result of our common connection to Vantage Point – our not-for-profit clients, fellow staff and consultants, Knowledge Philanthropists, board members, funders, and partners – have profoundly shaped who I am today. I have applied my “day job” learning to my own governance roles, formerly as board chairs of both Potluck Café Society and the Bowen Island Montessori Preschool, to raising our “little creatures” with a focus on abundance and joy, to applying leadership and management concepts on our family sailboat!
If it weren’t for the people, I don’t think I’d still be with Vantage Point. As we’ve been known to say, if it’s a transformation you’re looking for – start with people first.
Maria Turnbull brings over 20 years of leadership experience in staff and director roles within the not-for-profit sector, both here in Canada and in the UK. With a BA in International Relations and MBA, Maria is a skilled facilitator and consultant in board governance, organizational development,…
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