Out of the office and into the community: EWB staff visits chapters

A behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to coordinate 40 EWB chapter visits.

When I was my fourth year of university, EWB’s Community Team Leader from Toronto, Annelies visited the University of Alberta chapter in Edmonton to talk strategy. We talked about where the organization was going, chatted about our roles as chapter members in it and Annelies shared great advice about how I could support my members.

As a chapter exec, my role was really focused on the mental health of the chapter (and I wasn’t feeling great about it). But Annelies didn’t enforce the top-down “this is exactly what you should be doing” I was expecting from EWB staff. An awesome conversation came out of her visit to our chapter that really helped guide me and other members and reinforced my connection with the values of EWB.

That’s 40 trips, 40 sessions and 40 important moments of investment.

That’s the why of visits, as I see it. But what are they? Twelve members of staff travel across Canada to visit our 40 chapters, presenting the latest and greatest from our organization’s strategy, sharing content specific to each chapter and supporting so many members in so many different roles. That’s 40 trips, 40 sessions and 40 important moments of investment (well, there are lots more than forty of those, but you get the picture).

EWB is a really unique and awesome community where people get to do what they’re passionate about and the time staff invests in the chapters help them create the most impact. Chapters learn awesome ways to approach problems and immediately get to practice them in an area they’re passionate about.

Being an EWB staff member today, I feel like I embody the value that of that really amazing conversation with Annelies and am super grateful that it happened! Especially since I am now in charge of organizing the chapter visits.

EWB’s community is full of incredibly passionate young Canadians, and I’ve fed off that passion, as well as my own personal experiences, to plan meaningful chapter visits. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to coordinate 40 visits, really showing the appreciation I have for chapters and investing in our members.

  • I drew up a timeline to showcase key dates for other teams in the office and when they wouldn’t be available for visits.

  • My master list of chapters and visits (the one of the left is the third version, the one of the right is the “WHY DID I CROSS ALL THAT INFORMATION OUT?” version).

  • This is up on the pillar by my desk to keep me motivated (and those are fireworks in the top right)

  • When in doubt, Flipchart! Planning content and goals for visits took me seven pieces of Flipchart and three textbooks (brain = fried)

That’s planning chapter visits in pictures! I’m really excited to take part in visits this fall. I can’t wait to meet more chapter members and see what awesome work we’re doing across Canada. I’m also very thankful for my colleagues who are taking part in visits, and for the chapter leaders who are working with me to schedule and organize chapter activities around visits.

As always, keep up the good work! And see you soon!

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