Nawreen Hena


Bachelor of Secondary Education - After Degree (Biology Major, English Minor)

Graduate of the Non-Profit Board Internship Program (2021-2022)

Describe your board/organization, their objectives, and your responsibilities during the NPBI internship.
The board mission of the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society (E2S) is to re-establish and enhance their traditional roles and responsibilities as Two Spirit people in Indigenous communities while creating supportive environments within all societies for contemporary Two Spirit peoples. The board was, as of recently, a working board, which has been in the process of transitioning to a governance non-profit board. My responsibilities during my internship were to develop a plan which aimed to address issues of board and directorial roles and responsibilities, and the division of these responsibilities in an optimized and equitable manner, and furthermore highlight key areas of operational improvement within the board. The proposed updated board role descriptions I drafted upheld the legal expectations of a Non-Profit Society under the Alberta Societies Act while maintaining decolonial practices.
Can you describe your project and how you think it will benefit your board?
As the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society transitions from a fully Working Board to a Governance Board, there is a need to re-strategize in order to increase the efficiency of the organization. My proposed updated board roles and responsibilities optimization plan redistributed the workload and responsibilities of the board in an equitable manner amongst current and newly created roles. My proposed governance structure combined a tiered organizational arrangement with multiple paths of communication and levels of responsibility, without prescribing to strict hierarchical structures of organization. This structure mimics the nature of sharing circles, which encourages equity and sharing within communities. My proposal for a restructured organization and proposed strategies for optimization reduces the individual burden of any single position by greatly reducing the scope of the responsibilities of the roles, as were defined in prior documentation held by the E2S board. This will hopefully positively impact staff and volunteer attrition, personal and organizational health, and will attract recruits to more approachable and well defined open positions. It furthermore creates a clear organization of responsibility and multiple points of contact for individuals both within and outside of the organization, in order to facilitate efficient operation.

What stands out for you as key learning moments as a result of volunteering on a board?
I came into this internship with the goal of familiarizing myself with the roles and responsibilities of a governance board, in order to better apply myself within my own non-profit organization. The workshops I have attended and my involvement with members of the E2S board have been very informative in providing integral information I have applied in my own endeavours. Being able to meet and communicate with board members and other interns has provided a lot of great insight into fields where I had previously shallow knowledge and helped me consider alternative approaches to certain challenges I had not considered before. 

Would you recommend this program to U of A students and why? 
Definitely! This program is a great opportunity to apply yourself within a non-profit organization, and furthermore provides incredible experiential learning opportunities. There is a myriad of information provided by the university which greatly assists one's knowledge of the legalities and responsibilities of non-profit boards, and furthermore connects you with like minded individuals. All in all, a great experience.