Antonio Bruni

Antonio B

2016-2017 NPBI Cohort, Ph.D. (2018)

How did your experience in the program impact your life after graduation?

The Non-Profit Board Internship (NPBI) Program was instrumental in helping me transition into my career pursuant to doctoral studies. Since graduating in 2018, my career has largely been in the non-profit sector, immersed in organizations that intersect the health innovation landscape with improving health outcomes, while contributing to economic diversification within the province. Moreover, I have had the opportunity to serve on a number of advisory committees, and continue volunteering with boards, like the Alberta Diabetes Foundation and Jasper Place Wellness Centre. Having participated in the NPBI Program provided experiential learning opportunities with respect to board governance and providing strategic oversight to an organization. Given that my professional career and volunteer experiences are in the non-profit sector, participating in the NPBI provided early exposure and a helpful foundation that I can apply in my current roles.    

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

There were a number of learning moments that were borne from my experience volunteering with the Institute of Public Administrators (IPAC) Edmonton Region board of directors. My graduate studies and prior work experience were focused on medical research, so serving on a board alongside public servants at the municipal, provincial and federal level was a considerable departure from my traditional settings, inevitably pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I was incredibly fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Jared Wesley as part of the program (who at the time was a public servant and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta). Dr. Wesley was instrumental in helping me recognize how to leverage my existing skills and apply them in a non-traditional setting, thus enabling me to augment my skills, while simultaneously develop new ones in a safe learning environment. I very much credit Dr. Wesley with helping me “get out of my own way” and embrace new challenges as a means to achieve personal growth. This positive experience is one that I often reflect upon when I face new situations where I am required to step outside of my comfort zone. Identifying ways of applying your skills in non-conventional settings may present with challenges, but the learning process can be so rewarding!    

Would you recommend this to U of A students and why?

I would wholeheartedly encourage students from across disciplines in undergraduate and graduate programs at the U of A to participate in the NPBI Program through Community Service-Learning and the Career Centre. Engaging in non-traditional, immersive learning environments provides unique opportunities to augment one’s academic experience in a non-conventional setting. Beyond the learning experience, it also gives students an opportunity to make an impact and give back to the community by serving on an Edmonton-based board. Aside from the benefits of serving alongside and learning from members with diverse professional experiences, the program also provides a platform to help raise one’s awareness of the social and political landscape within Edmonton.