September 11, 2012 | Lisa Chapman
It was August 2010 when I left the Events Manager staff position at Sustainable Waterloo Region. Having volunteered and worked here since the organization’s start, it was truly heartbreaking to leave, but I had my mind set on entering the world of teaching. For that reason, September saw me start at the WLU Faculty of Education with the best wishes of both the team and many RCI member organizations. Fast forward to present and after two years of living the joys of classrooms from kindergarten to grade 12, I didn’t join the back- to-school rush last week, but instead I returned to the Sustainable Waterloo Region staff team.
This past June, when Helena announced that she would not be continuing in her position as Events Manager, I found myself torn. In one direction was the impactful and rewarding path of teaching that I had set for myself, but in the other, there was an opportunity to potentially return to an organization and team that I have always loved.
I questioned myself repetitively: Was I being irrational to contemplate delaying my initial “career goals”? Did my considering this opportunity mean that in some way I wasn’t happy with teaching? Was it foolish to leave the long-term stability of teaching to re-enter the not-for-profit world? Along with others, my Business Department Head helped me to put things into perspective. She encouraged me to see the sometimes transient nature of business teachers, the joys of having more than one passion in life, and the need to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us. Suffice it say, I realized that the wonderful opportunity to return to Sustainable Waterloo Region events was unlikely to come again in life; whereas I have many years to later return to a career in teaching.
Upon coming back to the organization, I was faced with the task of updating my profile on our team portal, including the well timed question “What keeps you coming back to Sustainable Waterloo Region?”I found that my answer to this was simply a summary of some recent thinking:
“I could list 100 reasons why I always come back to Sustainable Waterloo Region, and the majority of this list would be names. These would be the names of staff, volunteers, RCI member contacts and organization supporters, who truly come together to create the community that Sustainable Waterloo Region is based on. These people share the passion and drive to make positive change within our Region, and for that reason are often more than just colleagues and contacts. Adding to this the idea that within our team’s supportive culture you are challenged to use your skills to help both you and the organization succeed, we arrive at a final key fact: as much as I am a part of Sustainable Waterloo Region’s history, Sustainable Waterloo Region is truly a part of me too.”
Shortly after writing this, I also had one of our event partners very accurately suggest to me that returning to Sustainable Waterloo Region must be “just like coming home”.
Having been “home” for a month now, I know I made the right decision, and am thrilled to have just launched registration for the first event since my return. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone there!