- talking with other professionals, as equals, on matters of strategy, policy and operations reminded me that I knew about this stuff!
- taking on specific projects, such as overhauling the financial reporting systems, was a concrete opportunity to contribute and make a difference
- feedback from my colleagues was positive and encouraging (in contrast to the normal complaints from my children)
- I learned that my different way of looking at matters (from being the sole female and not steeped in the charity’s historical way of operating) was valued.
Strategic volunteering comes in many guises. These are examples of other people who’ve used it as a starting point for their new career:
- Jill volunteered as a business start-up adviser which allowed her to create a portfolio career with a number of NED positions. You can read her story here
- For Suzanne, being PTA chair was a perfect way to revive her dormant people management and influencing skills (there is nothing harder than engaging a group of volunteers), allowed her to be creative in a public arena and gain experience in presenting and speaking to large groups. A bonus was that getting to know her co-chair led to them setting up a business together when their term of office ended.
If you have a story to share, we’d love to hear it!