Isha Tailor


Bachelors of Science, Biological Sciences major, Business minor, Last year

Graduate of the Non-Profit Board Internship Program (2022-2023)

Describe your board/organization, its objectives, and your responsibilities during the NPBI internship.

Strathcona Place Society (SPC) is a senior centre in Edmonton that receives funding from the city to provide essential services, programs, and outreach to seniors. They strive to create a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive member and non-member community. Their goal is to provide accessible and updated facilities that better meet the needs of their community and members. They also aim to establish strong community, business, and sector partnerships to support the effectiveness of their organization.

Their board of directors is diverse and engaged, and they understand their community's demographics, needs, and the environment in which their organization operates. Through their collective efforts, they aim to achieve their mission of serving and improving the lives of seniors in Edmonton.

As an intern, I had the opportunity to observe and learn from the board members during their governance meetings. My primary goal was to soak up as much information as possible and gain valuable insights from their experiences. I was also fortunate enough to have been paired with a mentor who guided my learning and provided me with valuable feedback and resources throughout my internship.

In addition to observing board meetings, I had the opportunity to create a project that would be impactful for the board members. My mentor worked closely with me to ensure the project was relevant, achievable, and aligned with the organization's goals. This project provided me with a fantastic opportunity to apply what I learned as an intern and contribute to the board's initiatives.

Overall, my role as an intern was both educational and fulfilling. I gained invaluable insights into the workings of a board and had the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals who were dedicated to making a positive impact on the organization and the community it serves.

Can you describe your project and how you think it will benefit your board?

The Strathcona Place Society Board comprises passionate community members who are committed to making a positive impact on their community. While some of them may not have formal board experience, they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise gained from their respective fields. As they join the board with different expectations and goals, it's crucial to align their understanding of what the Strathcona Place Society’s governance board looks like.

To ensure a smooth onboarding process, I have taken it upon myself to create a comprehensive brochure that provides an overview of what it means to be on a board, what board membership entails and the impacts a board member can have on their community. The brochure aims to highlight the various responsibilities, duties, and obligations that come with being a board member, as well as the benefits and rewards of serving in such a capacity.

By creating this brochure, we hope to provide our new and current board members with a clear understanding of their roles and expectations, as well as set them up for success in their new position. We recognize that each member brings unique skills and experiences to the table, and by working together, we can achieve our common goal of improving our community.

What stands out for you as key learning moments as a result of volunteering on a board?

Volunteering on the board was an incredible learning experience that allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills I acquired during my undergraduate studies. As a business student, I primarily focused on strategic management and entrepreneurship classes, and I was pleased to discover how much of what I learned was applicable to the board's workings.

Additionally, as a co-founder of a local non-profit, I applied the knowledge I gained from Strathcona Place Society to improve our organization's meetings and overall effectiveness. This experience allowed me to gain practical knowledge and implement what I learned as an intern into tangible outcomes. One of the key learning moments for me was observing the board's decision-making process. I was able to witness how board members took different perspectives and input into account when making crucial decisions that impacted the organization and community. Additionally, I learned how to work collaboratively with a diverse group of people toward a common goal and how to develop effective strategies to achieve it.

Overall, volunteering on the board provided me with a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience, apply my academic knowledge, and make a positive impact in the community. It was a highly enriching and rewarding experience.

Would you recommend this program to UofA students and why?

I wholeheartedly recommend this program to UofA students as it provides a unique and hands-on opportunity to apply academic knowledge in a real-world setting. Volunteering on the board allowed me to take my first step into a true organization outside of student groups at school and learn from board members' experiences. Working alongside board members, I was able to gain valuable insights into the organization's governance and operations, which was incredibly valuable. However, what set this program apart was the opportunity to be paired with a mentor who provided guidance, support, and feedback throughout my time as an intern.

Having a mentor who was well-versed in the organization allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization's inner workings and the challenges and opportunities it faced. This knowledge and experience would have been difficult to acquire through traditional volunteering alone. Overall, this was an enriching experience that allowed me to apply my knowledge in a meaningful way, gain valuable insights into the workings of a board, and make a positive impact on the organization and the community it serves. Therefore, I would highly recommend this program to any UofA student looking for a practical and rewarding experience.