When Ed Hildebrandt signed up as a pro bono consultant with Spark! he was delighted to be matched with a resource centre right in his own neighbourhood. But the HR advisor from Manitoba Hydro got even more out of the opportunity than he expected.
Working with the Elmwood Community Resource Centre (ECRC) was eye opening … it was an insight into what is happening in the community. – Ed Hildebrandt
Ed, together with Lisa, another Hydro colleague, worked closely with Nina, ECRC’s Executive Director, to help develop ECRC’s organizational chart, examine possible redundancy or amalgamation of certain staff positions, and develop an organizational salary scale that was fair, equitable and in line with other similar non profits.
Here are 5 fast questions with Spark pro bono consultant Ed Hildebrandt:
Geoff Ripat, Spark Program Manager: When you think back on your match, what comes to mind?
Ed Hildebrandt: One is being able to connect to an organization close to my own neighbourhood where I live and work, but also an ability to reach into an area that I don’t normally connect with. Working with the Elmwood Community Resource Centre was eye opening, because I didn’t know of the work that they did … but it was also a great networking opportunity – to meet with Nina and find out … what her vision is and how can I help out with that. Also recognizing that there are probably other opportunities that I could help out with using the skills that I have, with organizations that don’t necessarily have the manpower or resources available to them.
Geoff: Can you describe the impact that you think your work will have towards the mission of the organization?
Ed: The feedback that we received from Nina was very positive. We had proposed some changes … to their organizational structure – and how they conducted their performance management processes, and when she did present it to the board it was very well accepted, so she was very excited about some of the changes she was going to be able to implement over the course of the next year.
Geoff: Is there something that you now do differently, or approach differently, at your job as a result of the match?
Ed: You know, working for such a large organization we have a large capacity to do a lot of work – both day-to-day operationally but also strategically and long term. But when you work with a small organization like this that scrambles for funding and people, and yet they are reaching a very large and broad audience, it’s humbling to know that they are trying to make things work with much tighter resources than we seem to be able to.
I mean, we all tend to sometimes to grumble about our workplace and things not necessarily going the way you had envisioned, but when you put it in perspective as to how some others operate, you gain a different perspective and you learn a sense of gratitude for what you do have.
Geoff: If you were to convince a colleague at Hydro to sign on as a Spark consultant, what would you say?
Ed: I think it is a very worthwhile cause. It helps organizations like I‘ve already mentioned – you know how it benefited Nina and her group. It helps professionally — for my own professional development it is great to stretch myself and use my skills in helping organizations in ways that I may not necessarily do … in my current role.
But also, in my organization I am also grateful that I have leadership that strongly supports employees to participate in that. Whether it is our own time or sometimes a bit of corporate time as well, it is something that is very much encouraged.
Geoff: What would you say are the benefits to your boss of you doing the volunteer work in the community, using your professional skills?
Ed: It’s great PR, for a company like Manitoba Hydro which is a crown corporation. I mean we’re always in the public eye so if we are working in our community in any capacity that we can to give back it is very well received.
Ed Hildebrandt is an HR advisor with Manitoba Hydro.
Spark offers high-impact, short-term, skill-specific pro bono matches
If you work for a company in Winnipeg and are looking to volunteer your expertise project-specific basis, start here. Our matches make it possible for organizations working on critical issues in our city achieve what they can’t do on their own – be part of that change today!