Partnership Between CSAE Trillium Chapter And Seneca College Creating A Bright Future For The Association Industry

By Jane W Haddad

The mission of the Nonprofit Leadership and Management (NPL) program at Seneca College is to build leadership capacity in the nonprofit sector by offering a business management curriculum tailored specifically to the challenges facing managers in the social economy.

In the spring of 2014, I was introduced to Tracy Blyth, Executive Director of the CSAE Trillium Chapter, by Rozalyn Werner-Arcé. Roz was the Executive Director at Epilepsy Ontario at the time. I was developing the new NPL post-graduate program at Seneca College as the program coordinator. Roz immediately saw the potential of connecting with the CSAE Trillium Chapter for a mutually beneficial partnership.

At the time, the CSAE Trillium Chapter was looking for ways to reach out to a new generation of upcoming, young, sector professionals and I was looking for organizations to participate in the field placement component of the course. It seemed like a great match!

The first effort to connect took place when I invited Tracy and several others to meet the first graduating NPL class of 2014 at a networking event at Newham Campus. It was a very successful evening, as the photo below captures. That led to an invitation from Tracy for the graduates to attend the two-day Summer Summit conference in Windsor in July, 2014. After that, the NPL students were invited to attend PDX events at no cost to themselves to network with young professional association staff. All this collaboration culminated in 2015 with the CSAE Trillium Chapter Board supporting a $1,000 scholarship, awarded annually to an NPL student who demonstrates an interest in the association sector. In the spring of 2016, the first CSAE Trillium Chapter NPL award was received by Jacquelin Heichart, who expressed her gratitude this way:

“As a recent graduate from Seneca College’s Nonprofit Leadership and Management program, I have come to understand the value that the association sector can bring to the community in that it helps strengthen capacity both on the individual and organizational level as well as build relationships and bridge the silos that tend to exist in the industry. As a professional printmaking artist and Grants Officer at the Kingston Arts Council, I am excited by the opportunities that exist at the association level, including education, networking, advocacy, information and research.” – Jacquelin Heichart, CSAE Trillium Chapter NPL award recipient, 2016

The CSAE Trillium Chapter NPL award, the first of its kind dedicated to the program, will become an integral part of the program and the students’ success.

Thanks to Tracy Blyth for her support, Roz for being a dedicated member of the Advisory Committee, members like Christine Charnock, Oksana Buhel and Steve Carroll for addressing the students at career-focused events and Randi Glass for lending her knowledge at orientation. The relationship between our organizations continues to be a success.

The involvement of the CSAE Trillium Chapter Board, staff and members has helped the NPL program by heightening the students’ awareness of member-based associations as a significant and important component of the nonprofit sector. Our continued collaborations are sure to inform and encourage our graduates to see the huge potential for employment in the association world and help develop them as a new generation of leaders for this important part of the social sector.

Please contact me if you are interested in knowing more about our field placement opportunity or further information about the NPL program at [email protected]