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Episode 209 - Becoming an Architect of the Volunteer Experience

Time + Talent Podcast

Government & Organization

During Faiza’s work with volunteers, she has radically shifted how she sees her role and the work of leading and engaging volunteers. Initially, she focused on the processes - ensuring that her work, the work of onboarding and managing volunteers, was systematic and thorough. But now she sees her role as an internal consultant and facilitator to help ensure that others in the organization are successfully engaging and building relationships with volunteers.  Faiza shares how the YMCA of Greater Toronto - the largest provider of childcare services in the Metro Area - has implemented this strategy. And, as she now sees that those processes and systems may actually limit or prevent volunteering, she has shifted to a more spontaneous and open process. Faiza also views her work as a type of activism - bring more people to volunteering as well as opening up roles to a more diverse population of potential volunteers. While her work at the YMCA of Greater Toronto is important, Faiza’s own story and the journey she’s taken to shift her own mindset about the work of volunteer engagement and her role is just as important. By focusing on supporting, preparing, and inspiring others to engage volunteers she has moved her role from one of execution to one of leadership. Included in this work is the need to overcome prejudices and biases. Faiza has leveled the playing field for volunteers in her organization by exploring lived experiences and discussing what’s helping and what’s getting in the way.  And this work paid off during the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic as the YMCA was able to adapt and adjust because of the groundwork Faiza had started well before the pandemic.  You can learn more about how Faiza advocates for leaders of volunteers on the CCVA webpage and you can contact her on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/faizavenzant/. Guest Bio: Faiza Venzant CVA, CVRM General Manager, Volunteer Development YMCA Greater Toronto From a young age, Faiza Venzant's parents instilled a strong sense of volunteerism in herself and her two older brothers. They, as immigrants to Canada from Uganda in the early 70s made a successful transition into Canadian life with the help of many generous volunteers. A volunteer herself from a very young age, she has been a champion for volunteer engagement for the last 20 years speaking, facilitating and continually learning from others internationally.  She is currently Executive Director with the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration and General Manager, Volunteer Development at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.  Faiza maintains her CVA and CVRM certifications in the field of volunteer engagement. Faiza is an active member and volunteer of the Toronto Association for Volunteer Administrators (TAVA), Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada (VMPC),  Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders – Ontario (PAVR-O and Association for Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE.) In 2020, Faiza was the recipient of TAVA’s Innovation Award.  In 2019, she was the recipient of the inaugural IMPACT award in Canada for Exemplary Volunteer Leadership. From PAVR-O, she received the Linda Buchanan Award in 2013 and has twice received their President's Award.   For More: For more on how other leaders have re-designed their roles to evolve and empower others, check out Season 1 of the Time + Talent podcast, Episode 106: Designing a Leadership Pipeline for 23,000 Volunteers.


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