Diversity Unified by Volunteerism


Debra Finlayson, CHRP

In The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, author Scott Page explains how diversity trumps like-mindedness through the four dimensions of cognitive diversity, perspectives, perceptions, solution generation and predictive models.

Diversified teams offer what Page calls “super-additivity”. When a group of people work together and one person makes an improvement, the others can often improve on this new solution even further: improvements build on improvements. (Princeton, 2007)

Volunteers Define BC HRMA Value

Such diversity is built into the DNA of BC HRMA membership, just as the spirit of volunteerism serves as an integral driver of member value. At every level, volunteers make it happen, bettering their industry, association and individual lives in the process.

When peering through the lens of diversity, there are few association bodies as all-encompassing as BC HRMA. Its vision, to be recognized as the place for leading people practices, holds significance at every level within its structure—as well as impacting the broader business community.

BC HRMA is a volunteer-driven organization, led by a board of directors whose expertise establishes and guides the vision, mission and mandate of the association. Within their ranks there is wide array of business and human resources leaders spanning industry sectors, each selected for their knowledge and experience to ensure BC HRMA is a viable and professional entity within and outside the association—both today and tomorrow.

The membership itself spans the experience scale from student to senior HR and business leader, across all industries. Moreover, BC HRMA membership reaches vertically and horizontally within organizations. This diversity has given rise to a value offering that both addresses the wide breadth of membership needs—and utilizes their wealth of skill sets and professional experience to the benefit of industry and member alike. Uniquely volunteer-driven in many aspects, the inclusive platform of roundtables, symposiums and other learning events is constantly evolving according to member demand and desire.

Member Benefits a Collaborative Creation

In the summer issue of PeopleTalk, Tim Read, CAE, stepped into this Member’s Corner column to outline the wide range of BC HRMA member benefits and highlighted the development, networking and savings made available through the association’s products, services and programs. Our network of volunteers is the key to this offering, providing a rich body of expertise that supports a collective matrix of energies and experiences which link member’s services to member needs.

Internally, BC HRMA staff work directly with various volunteers to garner needed advice. Volunteer committees provide innovative and creative thought at every juncture, including the annual conference and tradeshow, professional development programs and member communications such as HRVoice.org and PeopleTalk.

Another key group of volunteers, the regional advisory councils (AC) and committees operationalize the vision, mission and mandate of the board throughout BC HRMA’s eight regions assisted by their member relations manager (MRM). These councils provide a representative voice for each the region th    at reflects to the diverse geographic, industry and experience levels of BC HRMA members.

Recognition of Shared Success

It is the diversity within the collective expertise and experience of volunteers that defines the true value offering of the BC HRMA—key to moving member events and services from good to great such as HR Connects, HR Community Showcases and the HR (World) Café to name just a few.

While the BC HRMA volunteer connection runs along multiple lines, its frontline are the membership leads, phone ambassadors and event hosts who welcome new members into the community. The regional AC’s provide plenty of support here too, creating regional CHRP study groups and connecting mentors to protégés in the mentorship program.

In keeping with the culture of respect fostered by the members, our volunteers also seek out those deserving special recognition through the BC HRMA awards program. That these recognitions extend from giving out scholarships to those beginning their HR career journey to those leading the profession to new heights, is indicative of both the association’s breadth and meaning to those within the membership.

What our volunteers have recognized and shared in abundance is the powerful opportunity to grow and develop both their careers, as well as a bigger picture grounded in both community and commerce.

The Volunteer Opportunity and Impact

For those seeking to become involved with BC HRMA, connect with your regional member relations manager (MRM) and let us understand your professional needs, so that we provide an overview of current opportunities. Change is constant, so an ideal fit may be just around the corner.  As MRMs, we strive to create meaningful volunteer experiences thriving from the shared successes that emerge.

There is tremendous satisfaction derived from working with such a diversely-skilled group of volunteers. Their hearts, minds and voices have long defined BC HRMA—just as their collective efforts have redefined both the membership value and full scope of HR.

As a member relations manager for BC HRMA, I can assure you that nothing brings a wider smile than being asked about the on-going initiatives of our regional volunteers.  The answer is always along a similar line: they are doing amazing things—for one another, the association and their organizations.

Debra Finlayson, CHRP, MA (c.) is BC HRMA’s member relations manager for the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver regions.

(PeopleTalk Fall 2013)

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