Alumni Spotlight: Casey Ferriter

Have you ever had your mind blown? A moment where everything clicked for you, and the course of your entire life fell into place?

I had that exact experience at the EWB National Conference in Montreal while I was studying at Concordia University in 2014. I was only a few years into my degree, and I volunteered at the conference to set up chairs. I had the opportunity to listen in on the lectures and overheard a talk on sustainable business that clicked for me.

The rousing lecture on commerce and sustainability got me thinking more about EWB. I thought, wow If they have speakers like that at the conference, they must be having some pretty cool conversations themselves.

This propelled me to volunteer as an EWB Chapter Member, and get further involved with the organization.

My experiences with EWB are what really broke me out of my bubble, leading me to develop the communication skills, confidence, and exposure to excel in my work and to inspire others in the field.

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Through my involvement as a volunteer advocacy executive while studying at Concordia, I formed relationships which to this day are my closest and most treasured friendships. My mentors at the organization went a long way to inspire me in our mutual objective of leaving the world a better place.

There was always someone from the National Office or the Chapter Team that zealously led the way, energizing and motivating us to press on. The environment within all branches of EWB are one of complete commitment to caring, both about the work, the mission, and the members.

The level of caring was contagious. When you meet someone who cares that deeply, and they pull you in through activities and learning sessions, it’s impossible not to get totally swept up and have that same passion for the work and the community!

After I finished my degree, I began a career in international development. But it wasn’t until I began working professionally with EWB that I truly found my fit.

Previously, I had traveled to Uganda on an aid mission and worked in the international development sector in Canada, but was dissatisfied with what seemed to be “voluntourism” and the troublesome approaches to the work.

If I hadn’t realized that sustainable development wasn’t just for engineers or politicians, I would have gotten really sick of the voluntourism.

I am now Assistant Manager of Advocacy and Engagement at the EWB National Office. I strive everyday to contribute to the culture of caring from a professional level, and to a body of work that is truly sustainable and excites me as much as the initial lecture I heard back in 2014. I hope to continue to excel and advance within the policy and advocacy team, and leverage the skills I developed as an advocacy executive at Concordia, and when co-leading the Atlantic Advocacy Chapter.

My favourite moment at EWB happens each year: I get to train the advocacy volunteers for the Day of Action in Ottawa, and witness first hand the excitement and accomplishment of the volunteers as they break through the nervousness and deliver their messages to their representatives.

As I continue in my role, I often reflect upon the meaningful volunteer experiences, friendships, and the burning motivation that has inspired me along the way. I think of my esteemed colleagues, past and present, and how their fire lit a fire in me. And, I hope I can be that same person for the community and light fires for them.

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