I smiled as I tucked into the decadent piece of cake. I had a sense of déjà vu at this celebration of Pan-Asian leaders in our community. This gala is where I got my first taste of volunteering with Ascend Canada.
I do not dare compare my first year of volunteering to the amazing personal and career achievements of the award recipients at the 5th Annual Ascend Canada Leadership Awards. But listening to their stories made me think of where I am now and how I’ve grown one full year later.
I hit the ground running right after attending the Gala last year by penning my first blog for Ascend Canada. In the past year, I’ve had the chance to work on key initiatives like our Annual Report and our first GTA Student Conference. More importantly, I was able to work with some incredible volunteers that I’ve learnt and continue to learn from.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started volunteering but now I’m sold. And here’s why:
The power of diversity of thought: As an organization focused on advancing the Pan-Asian community, diversity is in our DNA. But volunteering on various projects made me realize the true value of diversity is not just in race or ethnicity but also in thought, in personal and professional background, in experiences. With volunteers from different walks of life, I was able to collaborate with people with varied perspectives enhancing the way I think, interact and problem-solve.
New opportunities lead to new skills: I remember joining the Marketing & Communications team because that’s what I do now and I knew exactly what I could bring to the table. But as the year went on, I wanted to look at new areas, develop new skills and find out what else I am capable of doing. With the flexibility to look for new opportunities, I was able to dabble in some project management and event planning pushing me out of my comfort zone. (And if I may add, event planning is not easy – but that’s for another blog!).
Your Network increases your Net Worth: Slightly tweaking the popular ‘your network is your net worth’, I strongly believe the people you associate with can impact the value you bring simply by what you learn and imbibe from them. Being around smart, passionate and hard-working people here has made me that much more informed and has inspired me to be my best. That in itself increases my ‘net worth’ and what I can provide.
As we wrap up National Volunteer Week – I’m grateful to be able to support and be supported by an organization that lives and breathes Diversity & Inclusion. I highly encourage everyone to find something they can volunteer for. Put in as many or as few hours as you’re comfortable with and embrace a new challenge because the return is so worth it. And sometimes there’s cake – who can argue with that?
Happy Volunteering folks!
If you’re interested in volunteering for Ascend Canada – check out our opportunities or feel free to reach out 🙂