Saturday, June 22, 2013

JDRF Canada AGM: John Lipp

As someone who volunteers it's always a pleasure getting recognized for the long hours, countless phone calls, emails etc that I send out. This year after being the communications chair on our walk committee, the local office asked me to attend the JDRF AGM to experience research updates and more.

It was a whirlwind trip to Toronto, and I wish the sessions could have been extended over three days so I could let it set in. However, I did take some great notes.I will break this down into sessions to give a few things that really stood out for me.

Session One: John L Lipp- National Director, Volunteer Engagement- JDRF

"If you want to make long-term changes, you have to include the whole community"
John is an excellent speaker. He has clever antidotes, engages the audience and makes the room feel much smaller than it actually is. As a volunteer, this session wasn't entirely focused on me as it was primarily about how to obtain and (more importantly) maintain volunteers. It was great to hear him give the employees of JDRF the tip of his talk (for me): Volunteers can mentor staff members. Meaning, the staff know JDRF inside and out, but volunteers know something else inside and out. Combining those skills will make for a very, very powerful team. The Halifax office employees have no problem with this. When I gave PR advice over the past year, they listened and took it to heart. When I explained some of the confusing parts of the national branding strategy, they were grateful. They are a great group of women to work with.

He went on to explain that volunteers, to be successful, have to care about the organization. It is up to the staff to ensure that each volunteer cares. He gave examples of doing this, but I think the most important point he made was to make sure that the volunteers skills are being used appropriately, and check in with the volunteer regularly.

What he spoke of, and what I found most important in my own personal repertoire of skills: how to run a committee. He talked about effective leadership without making your committee members feel like they need to be led. He talked about how to run meetings and the kind of language to use when addressing committee members.

What I took as most important to Mr. Lipp was that volunteers are just as important as paid staff members to JDRF, and it's vitally important to recognize this. It was a fabulous session to take in.

I will post about the two research updates tomorrow :)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds really great, Alanna! Glad you could go, and thank you for sharing!