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Path to People

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Jun 21, 2021 | Blog

When I was nearing the end of my high school career and was deciding which path I was going to take for post-secondary, I narrowed down the decision to two choices.  I was either going to pursue my love of writing by going to journalism school at Carleton University, or pursue my calling to work with people and take a Social Work degree at McMaster University. In my 19-year-old wisdom I made the decision to go with Social Work because “when I get burned out, I will just go back to school for writing.”  Ahhh youth.  It was likely this choice that solidified value alignment as the unwavering foundation of each decision to leave or take on a particular position. When I learned about the core values in the Canadian Social Work Code of ethics, it is the top three that became imprinted in my approach to my work life:  Respect for Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons, Pursuit of Social Justice, and Service to Humanity.

This career choice led me to work alongside people at a variety of non-profit organizations and many sectors including gender violence, child welfare, newcomer settlement, philanthropy, and community development. As an introvert, I often question why I chose a path of people work. People are exhausting.  But they are also capable, complex, creative, and brilliant.  What keeps me coming back to human-centred work is the opportunity to learn from their stories and realities.  Each of my work experiences presented opportunities to learn how an inequitable and unjust world impacts different people. Not-for-profits have a profoundly important responsibility to create spaces where people feel worthy, human, and valued. Regardless of an organization’s mission or mandate, social justice cannot be treated as outside the scope of work. Yet, this is how many now operate.

The year 2020 refused to let the world sleep on social justice, and 2021 is not dropping the baton. I joined the Vantage Point team in September 2020. During the summer of Anti-Black Racism preceding my start, I was taking intentional space to be still and remain in healing spaces.  Despite being immediately drawn to the posting for Organizational Consultant at Vantage Point, I was now approaching career decisions with a revised set of criteria. However, I knew this position was an opportunity to bring 20 years’ learning and experience working in non-profit organizations and reflect it back while supporting the development of leadership in the sector. Leadership in any area is best demonstrated through the humility of ongoing learning, and the bravery of making change based on what is learned.

Almost ten months later, I continue to celebrate my choice to join a team of staff who value learning alongside our members, partners, volunteers, clients, and the diverse communities at large. Vantage Point describes itself as a learning lab and 2021 continues to test this claim with the ever-emerging societal shifts and movements, as well as our own internal ones.  Every day that I show up at Vantage Point, I see the staff team’s willingness to step in to discomforting spaces, reflect, ask questions, collaborate on new approaches, and implement changes. I am extremely grateful.

Author

Dorla Tune

Dorla Tune is our Organizational Consultant who supports and strengthens our training, planning, and consulting services. Dorla has over 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector which spans across multiple provinces and organizations. She started in Ontario where she graduated from McMaster University…

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