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We Asked The WATSON Team – Why Do You Serve On Your Not-For-Profit Board?

April 25, 2022

Posted in: WATSON Views

WATSON Celebrates Non-profit Volunteer Board Day (BC)  – Hear from the WATSON Team Why They Serve On Their Not-For-Profit Board.

WATSON opens many board workshops with a simple question: why do you serve? We do this to ground the group in their purpose before beginning the day’s work. This question is core to the philosophy that guides all our work at WATSON, and to celebrate Non-profit Volunteer Board Day in British Columbia, we’re turning it back on ourselves.


Why do we serve on the non-profit boards we are on?


Rachel O’Connor, Leadership & Performance Practice Lead | CODE

I’m joining the board of CODE, which focuses on global literacy by supporting local teachers and locally produced, culturally relevant learning materials. Literacy is such a fundamental building block for health, wellness, and security, and this is a well-run organization with an approach grounded in equity and inclusion. I am eager to be part of the difference they make – supporting learning for more than 10 million children over 60 years – and it is great to know I have not just my own experience to contribute, but access to the collective wisdom of the WATSON Team.


Jodi Butts, Senior Governance Consultant | The Walrus

The Walrus provokes new thinking and sparks conversation on matters vital to Canadians.

I serve because when so many forces seek to pull us apart, The Walrus brings us together by keeping us learning, talking, and listening.


Liz Watson, Founder & CEO | Shad Canada

I serve as Chair of Shad Canada. Shad Canada ignites potential in the brightest Canadian youth by providing them with a one-month curated STEAM program that students and parents say is “transformational”.

 I serve because I believe that every young person in Canada who has the ability, should be able to participate in a program that will ignite their potential to create lasting impact for themselves and their local and global community. Our board of directors is dedicated, engaged, bold and intentional.


Suzie Cho, Practice Lead – Academy & Learning | is Canada’s only charity that trains and empowers youth to revolutionize youth mental health.

 I was introduced to in 2014 when my daughter attended her first Jack Summit. The conference gave her the language and courage to share with me for the first time, her own mental health struggles. Since then, I’ve expanded my understanding of how critical it is to destigmatize mental health and the important work does. I am inspired by their purpose and am honoured to serve on the board.


Manijeh Colabella, Governance Consultant | White Rock Museum & Archives

The White Rock Museum & Archives is a place for celebrating the White Rock community and its history, …. with the goal of interpreting local history and challenging visitors to think about the future as well as the past.

 I serve to give back to the community that I live in and have essentially grown up in (having come to visit extended family many times each year before re-locating here). I have always loved visiting the Museum on our regular walks down by the promenade and enjoy the history it tells and how it can shape our future. We have been a supporter of its programs for several years now and I wanted to get involved in a more meaningful way.

 I also support Women in Capital Markets (WCM) on the Vancouver Steering Committee. WCM is a national NFP organization founded in 1995. They execute their mission through: (1) building equity literacy, (2) amplifying diverse talent, and (3) uniting Canada’s finance industry. Their focus is to bring together a large network of professionals in Canadian finance to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in the finance industry.

 I am passionate about helping WCM realize its mission of driving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the boardroom and in leadership positions, and I am inspired to encourage all female professionals to propel to leadership positions in finance and related industries.


Heather Kelsall, Associate | Fresh Roots

Fresh Roots runs educational farms on school grounds and engages youth in growing, harvesting, and selling food.

 I serve because I believe some of the best learning happens outside the classroom, and I believe Fresh Roots plays an important role in growing good people.


Ming Pilz, Associate | Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC

ANHBC oversees eight neighbourhood houses and an outdoor centre, operating more than 300 programs and services to help strengthen communities in the Greater Vancouver area. Neighbourhood Houses bring together people from different backgrounds, with different experiences, of different abilities and ages.

 It has been rewarding to help offer an infrastructure for people to meet, get to know each other, and build communities together.


Cameron Wilson, Associate | Vancouver International Children’s Festival

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is the longest-running professional performing arts festival for young audiences, presenting diverse music, theatre, dance, puppetry, acrobatics and storytelling for the entire family.

I serve because I believe in giving back. Specifically, as a way to respect and pay forward the efforts made by past volunteers and directors who made so many opportunities possible when I was younger. Especially for an event like the Children’s Festival where young audiences are encouraged to learn, laugh, and play.

We want to take pause and celebrate all the non-profit directors who dedicate their time and talent to organizations that serve our communities. Thank you for your service.