Thank you!

Thank you to each of our speakers and presenters and everyone who attended and participated in the Community of Learning, Innovation in Governance & Leadership on October 26. We appreciate all of your contributions and look forward to continued conversation.

Watch for future virtual events and gatherings from Family Service Canada and other opportunities to connect and grow as leaders of family service organizations.


The Future of Governance: Boards, Executive Directors, and Community, How do we Lead Together?

About the Presenters

Charlotte is a human resources professional whose career has spanned leadership roles in community based organizations as well as multiple consulting assignments supporting CBO executive leaders addressing HR matters. She also worked with Boards, providing services that encompassed facilitating strategic planning sessions, defining Board roles and responsibilities, and supporting Boards with their HR accountability vis a vis the CEO/ED position. Her experiences inform her understanding of the pivotal role that governance plays in the sector, and of the strengths and pitfalls of various governance models and practices.

Rachel is the Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights with the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan where her research focuses on gender, sexuality, and human rights. Prior to this, Rachel served as the Executive Director of OUTSaskatoon, a non-profit that servers 2SLGBTQ people from 2013-2020. During her tenure, Rachel learned firsthand what it looks like to build organizational infrastructure and to reinvigorate stakeholder relationship. Likewise, she learned how to navigate complex board dynamics and to support a quickly growing staff, all the while ensuring that community need remained front and centre. Throughout Rachel’s community and academic work she has developed expertise in non-profit governance, management, facilitation, leadership, and policy analysis, while focusing on opening up spaces for social change, cultural diversity, and greater collaboration across non-profit, University, governmental, and other spheres.

Get Yourself a Co! How CFS Calgary is Leveraging a Co-CEO model to Lead Collaboratively and Keep the Co’s Sane

Co-CEOs Byron Chan and Jessica Cope Williams from CFS in Calgary, will cover the origins and structures of the Co-CEO model, what’s required for the model to work, and how the model can enhance sector effectiveness.

About the Presenters

A lawyer by background, Byron entered the legal profession in pursuit of a career in social justice and human rights. After years of practicing in corporate banking law, his passion for serving vulnerable and at-risk communities led him and his wife to Sub-Saharan Africa, where they worked with an international NGO to build capacity in local community-based organizations to care for the orphaned and vulnerable. After three years in Africa, Byron and his wife returned to Calgary, inspired to build and strengthen their community at home. Byron joined The Catholic Family Service of Calgary in 2016, currently serving as the Co-Chief Executive Officer, as part of a dynamic team committed to building strong families.

Byron loves life as a husband and father to three young children, who oscillate between being the joy of his life and the bane of his existence. A healthy dose of sports and an unhealthy amount of food are also what serves to keep Byron happy and whole.

Jessica has worked with Catholic Family Service since 2006, when she started in a frontline service delivery role. She has a Bachelor in Social Work (University of Victoria) and a Master’s of Arts in Leadership (Royal Roads University). Jessica’s ‘growing up’ at CFS allowed for opportunities to work in all of CFS’ programs, as well as in fund development and volunteer engagement. She is fuelled by a strong commitment to ‘think differently’ about how to make services more accessible for clients, and she dreams of a system that doesn’t require ‘navigation’ support. In her current role as Co-CEO, Jessica stives to live her mantra of “brave not perfect” and is a big believer in learning by doing. The CFS purpose of building strong families is close to Jessica’s heart at work and home. Alongside her career adventure, Jessica is the grateful wife of a very supportive spouse, and mom to a tenacious pre-schooler.

Reimagining Governance

How can nonprofits design their governance for the future? In this session, join Erin and Linda from Reimagining Governance, an initiative with the goal of provoking a shift in how we think about and do governance work in nonprofit organizations. You will be introduced to a framework on governance that offers a more expansive lens on governance as a complex system, as well as tools and questions you can bring back to your own organizations. Reimagining Governance is a collaboration between the Ontario Nonprofit Network and Ignite NPS.

About the Presenters

Erin (she/her) is a facilitator and storyteller whose work lies at the intersections of anti-oppressive pedagogy, community collaborations, and creative arts. She is currently the Project Lead at ONN for Reimagining Governance, an initiative with the goal of provoking a shift in how we think about and do governance work in nonprofits. She is the founder of Stories of Ours, a grassroots project which aims to deepen community, invite solidarity, and challenge dominant narratives through intentional acts of storytelling and creative arts.

Linda is Chair of Ignite NPS, a foundation committed to igniting new ways of working in the nonprofit sector. She is currently Co-Lead of Reimagining Governance, in collaboration with the Ontario Nonprofit Network. Linda led a consulting practice for over 20 years working with funders and non-profit organizations. In collaboration with others, she has published resources, such as Trends and Forces Reshaping Nonprofit Organizations; Board Oversight of Not-for-Profit Collaboration (CPA); Benchmarks of Excellence for the Voluntary Sector; A Framework for Success for Nonprofit Federations; and Collaboration Coach. Prior to her consulting practice, she was CEO of Imagine Canada. She has a Masters degree in Communications from Boston University.

Attend the Annual Community of Learning Conference

Community of Learners is a group of people who share values and beliefs and actively learn from one another.

The Family Service Canada community is interdependent. Each of us is responsible for receiving and sharing resources and points of view while sustaining a mutually respectful environment.

Technology makes it possible to connect across distances and throughout the year, but in-person connection is essential. Our annual Community of Learning Conference provides that connection and supports our development of trust and relationships.

Every year, one member hosts the conference—welcoming conference attendees to their city or town.

The Community of Learning Conference is Different Every Year

We build our conferences around a theme or prevalent issue. Agencies or subject matter experts facilitate learning sessions and lead discussions. In the past, content shared at the conference has included

  • Practical learning around essential non-profit functions like fund development or governance.
  • New initiatives like multi-agency collaborations.
  • Service opportunities like the F&ST program or different approaches to single-session counselling.
  • New research in areas like neuroscience and brain development that impacts how we serve families.

Every conference also includes ample opportunity to connect in smaller groups. Whether you want to discuss a specific issue or relax in your peers’ company, you’ll find it.

Dinner, drinks, and opportunities to experience some of what the host city offers are just some of the other aspects of the conference.

The Conference is Open to Non-Members

The Community of Learning Conference is a Family Service Canada offering that is open to members and non-members alike. If you’re interested in the theme or topic, you’ll find valuable information and discussion. We’ll also benefit from hearing your perspective.

If you’re considering membership, attending the conference is a great way to meet current members and experience our community.

Our next conference will be in October 2020. The event will be virtual to protect everyone’s health. We hope to return to an in-person event early next year in Vancouver.