By: Dr. June Matthews, PhD, RD, P.H.Ec., OHEA President
Many professional associations are desperately looking for members to serve on their Boards. The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) is no exception. Every year, it is a challenge to fill Executive and Board positions.
To address this situation, Cathy Enright, P.H.Ec., and Dr. June Matthews, RD, P.H.Ec., submitted a grant application to the Canadian Home Economics Foundation (CHEF) to host a workshop on board governance. The $1000 Doris Badir Leadership Award they received was used to support a Leadership Workshop at Brescia University College on November 17, 2018.
Cathy Enright, P.H.Ec. and Fellow in Board Governance from the Canadian Board Diversity Council, provided dozens of practical suggestions for best practices when choosing a Board. She explained the discipline and structure of Board governance, and helped participants develop a Board-friendly resume and interview ‘pitch’. She supported her valuable advice through fascinating real-life case studies.
Cailin Whincop, P.H.Ec., Stewardship Coordinator for Girls Inc. of Durham, highlighted how Home Economics is embedded in the mission of many non-profit organizations. She described the advantages and challenges of working in this sector, reminding participants that they will gain more skills by working through challenges! She also guided participants through a personal ‘thinking style’ test.
Ken Whitehurst, Executive Director of the Consumers Council of Canada, discussed how Home Economists helped create the consumer movement in Canada. He described the many ways in which the Council has been successful in advocating for consumers. Despite little funding, these volunteers work tirelessly on behalf of consumers. Unfortunately, the public takes for granted that this consumer protection “just happens”. Some current areas of concern include high-interest lending, e-commerce practices, and energy efficiency in the home.
Stacy Oleksy, P.H.Ec., Director of Education and Community Awareness at the Credit Counselling Society, delivered a powerful talk on leadership. Her light-hearted and practical tips for success were well-received by the audience. The interactive nature of her presentation allowed participants to gain a deeper understanding of how to overcome challenging situations in their personal and professional lives.
Dharshi Lacey, Director of Diversity & Governance at Pillar Non-profit Network, outlined the many ways in which this innovative organization provides support to hundreds of non-profits, social enterprises, and social innovators in the community.
Lacey directed participants to Pillar's website for information on events, volunteer positions, and job opportunities. Dharshi also provided a valuable tip on a local program that matches students to a non-profit board, where they can serve as a non-voting member and learn more about non-profit governance.
Many people are not aware of the benefits and responsibilities associated with Board governance, the ways in which they can influence professional associations/ non-profit organizations, or even the process of being appointed to a Board. OHEA’s Leadership Workshop addressed this gap!
OHEA acknowledges, with gratitude, the Canadian Home Economics Foundation and Brescia University College for their support.