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Monday, May 13, 2013

I Had a Blast in Minneapolis (even though I didn't see Prince)

Last year I attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago. Just as I was about to leave the final plenary session and invest in the American retail sector, I spotted my volunteer engagement girl crush Betty Stallings. I had hosted a couple of Betty's sessions at the 2010 PAVR-O (Profesional Administrators of Volunteer Resources - Ontario) Conference so I decided to say hello. Betty remembered me and more importantly she had nothing but good things to say about her PAVR-O experience. Seated beside Betty was Mary Quirk, Executive Director for the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA.) Betty introduced us and went on to say that MAVA was the leading association for volunteer engagement professionals in the US and PAVR-O was its counterpart in Canada. She encouraged Mary and I to connect and we did. Mary and I chatted and quickly realized that there was a lot that our two associations could learn from each other. We exchanged contact information along with a few hugs and committed to working together.

Betty, myself and Mary in Chicago last year.

Last week, I was on an Air Canada Jazz plane with PAVR-O President Erin Spink. The fate of American-Canadian relations was weighing heavily on us...we were seated in the exit row and taking our role very seriously while we each nursed a ginger ale (straight up, in case you were wondering.) I'm sure I saw Erin highlighting the safety card...

Erin takes safety very seriously.
Cheers!

We were on our way to the annual MAVA Conference to represent PAVR-O and we did double duty as workshop presenters. What began as some innocent stalking of my girl crush Betty back in Chicago had led to the meeting of Mary, some sharing of ideas and the first PAVR-O-MAVA Exchange. Later this month, Mary and her colleague Katie Bull will travel to Mississauga, Ontario to represent MAVA at the PAVR-O conference and also present two workshops of their own.

Erin and I were excited to have represented PAVR-O well. We discovered that our Minnesotan colleagues are facing a lot of the same challenges we are and we were able to talk through potential solutions to make all of our communities better.  I came away from the conference invigorated and excited to share my learning with my team at the YMCA.

Thank you MAVA for hosting an amazing conference, challenging me as a professional and inspiring me as your neighbour.


4 comments:

Mary Quirk said...

Faiza and Erin were valued part of the MAVA conference. Both of their session were packed with eager learners and received rave reviews. What smart, articulate presenters! Minnesota thinks highly of volunteerism in Canada and the presentations added class and excitement to our conference. Thank you from Mary and MAVA

Claire Kiefer said...

I am always inspired and impressed by what you do and how you do it, so please don't think I'm overlooking that when I comment that you look adorable in that green & navy striped dress. :)

tez said...

I agree with Claire! I also love the passion you have for volunteerism! Xx

cerebral e said...

Your posts always crack me up. Looks like a great conference too.

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