I am so immensely pleased to announce my new job (but don’t worry, it’s still at Vancity).
I am now the Director, Digital & Community Engagement, accountable for engaging members, employees and the people in their communities to understand their co-operative impact, strengthen loyalty and affinity, and develop relationships within our communities. My mandate includes overseeing community grants, sponsorships and events, social media, mobile and digital engagement, online banking, and the intranet.
Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked, and I NEVER say “stoked”!
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a special relationship with the organization I work for. Almost eight years ago, when my wife Amy and I moved back to Vancouver from Los Angeles, we knew that we wanted to deal with Vancity. I have no idea how we knew that, but we somehow just knew that it represented an investment into community that was different from other financial institutions.
I had never belonged to a credit union before – as a kid I dealt with TD and Royal Bank, and in the States I banked at Seafirst and then Washington Mutual. I’m not sure I even knew what a credit union was, but I knew that Vancity was a place where my money could do different things for my family and the community I was so excited to come back to.
Then, a couple of years later it occurred to me that I should work there. I started on a three month contract in 2005 – in what was then the Interactive Services team – and my career would never be the same. I connect with the place – I understand the brand, the co-operative roots, I get how money can be invested back into local community impact rather than private shareholders (in fact, 30% of net profits are reinvested back into members and their communities every year).
And in 2008 I was promoted to head up the new Web Engagement & Banking Team, overseeing online banking, the Intranet and social media. I work with a great team, and we do amazing things, and now we get to do a whole hell of a lot more.
My new team will continue doing all the things we have been doing, but several staff who currently run a whole slew of real-world (gasp) community activities will join us. We will be engaging community through digital tools – my bread and butter – but I will also be overseeing community grants, sponsorships and events.
So, why this combination of activities into one department? It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. A lot of members, and even staff, know Vancity does amazing and brave things to support community, but they don’t know the specifics. Frankly, we haven’t done a good enough job of communicating all that we do to help communities thrive and prosper. Bringing together these tools and activities means that we can use our new intranet to engage staff, and our website, ChangeEverything.ca and other digital tools to engage members so they all understand what we do to support community – their own communities and their own neighbourhoods.
For me it’s a bit of a dream come true, because these activities get to the heart of why my wife and I joined Vancity as members, and why I threw my resume over the wall five years ago to try and get a job there in the first place. I’m now a little closer to the organization’s vision of Redefining Wealth, and get to draw more fully on the lessons I learned from touring the co-operative sector in Bologna.
So, 2011 is looking like a pretty exciting year, full of opportunities to learn new skills, get involved with new areas of the financial co-operative, and enable our staff, our members and the people in their communities to engage with the organization. We can help them better understand that people pooling their money together can create impact that can make our lives, and our neighbours’ lives, better.