What is your role or relationship with CESO?
Volunteer Advisor, Lead Volunteer Advisor and In-House Evaluator.
How long have you been working with CESO?
What motivates you to work or volunteer with CESO?
After retiring, I realized that I had a somewhat unique work background of having gained experience in the corporate, consulting and development fields. When I was introduced to CESO by close friends, it seemed almost a natural fit for me to continue to work as a Volunteer Advisor with CESO and to share my knowledge and experience with others. That was over five years and fifteen volunteer assignments ago, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In addition to being able to represent this excellent organization overseas, my CESO volunteer assignments have provided me with a great deal of satisfaction being able to provide very welcomed technical advice and coaching to various clients and beneficiaries. At the same time, the assignments have provided me with personal challenges and growth opportunities to adapt and apply my skills to identify needs, deliver workshops and achieve the desired results. Perhaps,the most rewarding experience is when later on, you hear that your ideas and recommendations have been introduced by the client and sometimes, they want you back for further guidance, which is very positive feedback.
What is your most remarkable experience or memory of CESO?
I have been lucky to have several rewarding CESO experiences but perhaps the most memorable was my first assignment to Iqaluit in Canada’s far north. The assignment called for me to facilitate a strategic planning session with the government of Nunavut’s human resources department. While basically comfortable with the planning process, the fact that this was my first as a Volunteer Advisor made me quite nervous of working in a cultural setting that I had little experience with.
At the time, CESO had an office in Ottawa for the Northern Territories staffed by a very cultural savvy and helpful manager named Ulrike K. She provided me with valuable background information on the Inuit, the Territory and its government which helped me immensely in my workshop preparations.
As with most assignments, getting there is an experience in itself. The three hour flight to Iqaluit was no different and I was amazed at how far north I was travelling in Canada. It was spring time, with lots of ice and snow around and long nights. The workshop participants were enthusiastic and the outcomes were very favorably received.
This first assignment was very positive for me reinforcing that my personal skills and knowledge with thorough preparations could be utilized effectively in different cultural settings. Besides giving me confidence to undertake other CESO assignments, it gave me a life experience to have visited and contributed in a very small way to the development of Canada’s north.