I think our city is such a special place to live, work and play and we punch enormously above our weight class.
We at Spark have the opportunity to meet incredibly talented people who want to use their skills to help build a stronger Winnipeg. To celebrate their time and talents we want to shine our spotlight on them. Today we interview Jill Knaggs!
What is your professional background?
I’m a senior marketing leader with extensive experience solving problems, developing strategies and managing campaigns. Over the past 20 years, I’ve delivered results for employers and clients in all kinds of industries; from big business to niche not-for-profits. Today, I have the privilege of applying my skills in my work with an amazing team of professionals on exciting projects and initiatives as wide ranging as influencing education, government, industry and the workforce. Nothing is as much fun at work as having the opportunity to work with a team of talented people that drive you to think big and make it happen!
How did you learn about Spark?
You know, I can’t actually remember who first mentioned the organization to me, although I know it was multiple people. I’m going to guess Noreen Mian or Cate Friesen, but I do remember hearing from any number of professionals in my network that they’d worked on a project with Spark and had such a great experience doing so that I thought I need to learn more organization! I have three kids (ages 7, 5 and 2) and around the time my first was born my volunteering preferences changed. Giving back was something I’d done my whole life, but suddenly I needed an opportunity that challenged me professionally and that also allowed me to fit my service into a schedule that was unpredictable and busier than ever. Spark was exactly what I needed.
What about Spark’s mission appealed to you?
While I’ve worked with organizations across Canada, I’ve never been tempted to leave Winnipeg. I think our city is such a special place to live, work and play and we punch enormously above our weight class. I love the community development mandate as well as the idea of building capacity for a non-profit that can build economic opportunities that enhance their communities for the greater good.
How has volunteering impacted your work and/or personal life?
It’s meaningful, enriching and above all – fun! For any professional who wants a reminder of why it is that they have the career they do, I recommend a Spark engagement. Translating your professional skills to help an organization overcome a barrier or take advantage of an opportunity that in turn drives social good is such a meaningful, inspiring experience that it re-energizes your outlook and makes going to work more enjoyable than ever.
What advice would you give those considering volunteering with Spark?
It’s not uncommon for there to be a mismatch between expectations from a client and a volunteer, and I have always been so impressed with the vetting and onboarding process the Spark team provides – it virtually guarantees a positive experience on both ends, which is so powerful. Be clear on what you an offer and how much time you can commit, but be willing to listen, learn and grow as well.
What’s next for you?
Great question! Mid-pandemic my outlook (like many others) has certainly changed. The long-term planning is out the window and I’m enjoying the chance to slow down, focus on the work that matters and find meaning in the little things. For now, making a little difference here and there at home and in the community is more fulfilling than ever. Maybe it’s time for the next Spark match! 🙂
In 2018 Jill was nominated for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award at the Volunteer Manitoba Awards for her work with L’Arche Tova Cafe. You can reach about the match and her nomination HERE.
Interested in volunteering your skills with Spark? Checkout our website for more information and let’s set up a time to chat!