Mount Saint Vin­cent Univer­sity

Align­ing your be­liefs to cre­ate au­then­tic change in the non-profit sec­tor

The Coast - Career Minded - - NEWS -

The non-profit sec­tor is all about con­nect­ing you to your com­mu­nity, but if you’re not will­ing to per­se­vere, the work can be a strug­gle. Un­der­stand­ing the com­plex­ity of the sec­tor and the dili­gence re­quired is the first key step to suc­ceed­ing within it. There’s high re­ward within the in­dus­try, but that comes with high com­plex­ity, and learn­ing to em­brace both is what Mount Saint Vin­cent Univer­sity’s new Non-Profit Lead­er­ship Pro­gram is pre­par­ing you for.

“We need bold, smart, driven and coura­geous in­di­vid­u­als within the non-profit sec­tor to con­tinue to grow pos­i­tive out­comes and to build a stronger com­mu­nity for all,” says Sara Napier, Pres­i­dent and CEO of United Way Hal­i­fax, and grad­u­ated of MSVU’s pub­lic re­la­tions pro­gram. Napier is thrilled about the pro­gram of­fer­ing that the Mount is pro­vid­ing to the non-profit sec­tor in cre­at­ing an ed­u­ca­tional back­bone to this pro­fes­sion. “This pro­gram will be build­ing that strength and tal­ent needed within the com­mu­nity,” Napier adds.

Napier speaks to the ad­vances that the Mount makes within its cur­ricu­lum. “It is al­ways ahead of the game,” says Napier. “They get out in front of ar­eas of fo­cus that are re­quired for our com­mu­ni­ties to be bet­ter, and they do it in great spirit.” There are a range of op­tions when look­ing at non-profit pro­grams, but MSVU dis­tin­guishes it­self by ze­ro­ing in on non-profit work as a call­ing, and the univer­sity’s tai­lored pre­cisely to that call­ing with com­mu­nity change at the root of the pro­gram.

Napier says her ex­pe­ri­ence at MSVU was a game-changer for her, and that it was a com­mu­nity where she found her con­fi­dence and a source of be­long­ing. “With their warmth and wel­com­ing spirit, I’m proud to have been con­nected with them for a num­ber of years now,” Napier says, hav­ing also re­turned as a part-time in­struc­tor at the Mount.

Her ex­pe­ri­ence helped pre­pare her for the work she does with United Way Hal­i­fax, in­clud­ing how to lead an or­ga­ni­za­tion. In this role, Napier leads the staff team, re­ports to a vol­un­teer board of di­rec­tors, and works with thou­sands of vol­un­teers, com­mu­nity lead­ers and donors to cre­ate pos­i­tive change within the com­mu­nity.

United Way Hal­i­fax’s vi­sion is: “Hal­i­fax. United by com­pas­sion. Rich in op­por­tu­nity. Free of poverty.” There are three main ways United Way Hal­i­fax de­liv­ers on this vi­sion. The first is be­ing a fun­der of or­ga­ni­za­tions that are aligned with their vi­sion, and they cur­rently have 48 or­ga­ni­za­tions within ur­ban, sub­ur­ban and ru­ral Hal­i­fax that they con­tribute to.

The sec­ond is be­ing a voice for change through conversation, events, so­cial me­dia, ed­i­to­ri­als and fundrais­ing. This is their op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate and en­gage in the im­por­tance of solv­ing is­sues, like erad­i­cat­ing poverty, as a com­mu­nity.

The third is fa­cil­i­tat­ing part­ner­ships to tackle com­plex com­mu­nity change. The most re­cent ex­am­ple is a poverty re­port and plan that Napier and Hal­i­fax mayor Mike Sav­age have been co-chair­ing over the past sev­eral months.

Napier’s pas­sion for the Non-Profit sec­tor is what helps her suc­ceed in the field, and that’s what her word of ad­vice is for any­one else who is con­sid­er­ing this branch of work.

“En­sure that if you’re work­ing in a non-profit that your heart and mind are aligned with the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Be­lief and value align­ment is crit­i­cal to au­then­ti­cally build re­la­tion­ships and cre­ate im­pact,” says Napier. This work takes up a large por­tion of your life and will em­body you. Do a heart and mind check in or­der to do the work dili­gently, and the re­ward will al­ways fol­low through.

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