Our branch’s listening event on March 16 turned out to be an interesting evening, with a spirited exchange of ideas between our members. In his address, Tom Vradenburg stated that for a volunteer-run organization such as Editors Canada, it is important that we all find ways to help in a way that benefits both the organization and the volunteering member. As he put it, volunteering with your local branch is not just about padding up your resume, but also about “building relationships, one taskforce at a time”. As an example: if a member has an idea for a program, the Branch will support and organize help to aid the member run with the idea to bring it to fruition. The Branch is able to provide more focused programming for its members, and the member hones their organizational skills and get to share in-depth ideas with the speaker. This becomes a win-win situation for both parties.
Our members provided several inputs, particularly in the area of mentoring:
Mentoring programs were always welcome; the recent “Speed mentoring” event was quite successful. Some of our members pointed out that while Mentoring (with a capital M) might not always be possible due to time constraints, they would be open to offering speed mentoring for newer members, or a more informal mentoring, a kind of “buddy system”.
Mentoring is also a great way of retaining and even bringing back people who may have left the organization. It would be great to hear their perspectives, not just from an editing point of view, but in a more comprehensive manner. These “elders” have vast editing and life experience that others could learn from.
In a similar vein, it would also be great to have talks by experts in related areas of our lives, and not confine ourselves to the discipline of editing. Some suggested topics were: managing a freelance business, financial planning, mental health, ageing, and what employers look for in editor while hiring.
Mentoring could also be two-way, given that many of our new members seem to be younger. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for more experienced editors to learn more about issues that engage newer editors.
While formal mentoring plans are being discussed at the National level of Editors Canada, there are things that can be done at our branch level. Perhaps when new members join us, their welcome email could ask if they needed a mentor, and the branch might be able to do some match-making.
If you missed our meeting, and would like to share your thoughts on volunteering and mentoring, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.