“Volunteering has helped me get to know some incredible people, but more than that, it’s given me a sense of accomplishment because the work I’m doing helps nonprofits, which in turn helps people”
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. Each month we will profile one of our volunteers. Today we interview Kelly Thibodeau, social media expert and owner of Squarely Social.
What is your professional background?
I’ve been working as an online content professional for the last 25 years. First as a technical writer, then as a web writer and editor, then as a social media strategist. I’ve worked for a consulting company, for a software provider and for an insurance corporation in roles ranging from an individual contributor to a manager. In 2018 I started Squarely Social, an online marketing consulting company and in 2019 I started teaching part-time in the Digital & Social Media Marketing and Marketing Management Diploma programs.
How did you learn about Spark?
After I was laid off from my job in 2017, I started reaching out to former colleagues to see what the job market was looking like. One of them (Jill Knaggs) mentioned Spark. I hadn’t reached out yet, but was intrigued about getting involved, so I started following Spark on LinkedIn. It wasn’t long after that when I saw a post looking for someone who could help with a special project involving some social media work and before I knew it, a few people in my network recommended me! So my introduction to Spark was a bit serendipitous — the best kind of introduction if you ask me!
What about Spark’s mission appealed to you?
I loved the idea of getting to know more about the organizations doing meaningful work in the city, and more than that, that Spark is about helping the orgs learn — not just replacing skills — but actually building capacity in the organization itself. And this particular project was with NorWest Co-op Community Health, a new organization to me, doing work that was both useful for them and extremely meaningful to me. The engagement lasted over a year, which was amazing! I also really appreciated that Spark didn’t just make the match, they supported the work all the way along, making sure expectations were clear, communicating with everyone and ensuring that if things changed, it worked all across the board.
How has volunteering impacted your work and/or personal life?
Volunteering has helped me get to know some incredible people, but more than that, it’s given me a sense of accomplishment because the work I’m doing helps nonprofits, which in turn helps people (and having fun while I’m doing it). You can’t ask for anything more meaningful than that.
What advice would you give those considering volunteering with Spark?
I would encourage anyone to reach out about getting involved — it doesn’t matter if you only have a spare hour — that hour can make all the difference.
What’s next for you?
I’m continuing to teach with the University of Winnipeg and always looking for consulting, training and speaking opportunities, online and when it works, in-person too. (And I’m a total Zoom waver — I can’t help it!)
In 2019 NorWest Co-op Community Health nominated Kelly for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award. You can read more about her match here!
Interested in volunteering your skills with Spark? Checkout our website for more information and let’s set up a time to chat!