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Passion with Purpose

The Secret Art of Volunteering: Presentation Review

When I sat down to listen to Ken Lima-Coelho’s presentation last Friday, I didn’t expect to learn anything new. How pompous is that? What could he possibly have to say in a talk called Strategic Volunteering: Strengthening your Community while Building your Business that wasn’t obvious and hadn’t been said before? Well, maybe I was wrong… just a little.

Lima-Coelho took to the stage at IABC Calgary’s Professional Development day for Independent Consultants last Friday, with passion, purpose and insights that were inspiring, thoughtful, and above all, results-oriented. This was a man who knew of what he spoke.

Volunteering HandsLima-Coelho is currently the Vice-President of Communications and Financial Development at YMCA Calgary. But his dynamic and entertaining talk was not about his role there, it was all about what got him there, about how living his passions out loud got him to where he is today, in a role it sounds like he was born to do. From a kid who attended YMCA after school care, to communications and journalism student, to Heebee-jeebee band member (self-described as originally created to “get free food and pick up girls”) to CBC producer and on-air personality, Ken’s career seemed full of passion and energy from the outset.

But the soul of his talk was about his volunteer passions: his passion for family and kids, his passion for the role the YMCA played in his formative years, his passion for building community, his passion for the Calgary Foundation, his passion for the work he gets to do every day at the YMCA, to help make Calgary a better place to live.

While his non-stop energy and enthusiasm for all he does is laudable, he stopped me in my tracks when he closed out his presentation with this takeaway: “Every authentic action counts,” said Lima-Coelho. “If you’re not an authentic volunteer, it shows.”
I loved that. It hadn’t even occurred to me that he could possibly be pretending; that his countless hours of volunteerism weren’t speaking from the heart. This is because he is an authentic volunteer.

What Lima-Coelho left me with was the affirmation that one should act from the heart. Be authentic in all you do. And when you authentically volunteer for the causes you are passionate about, it shows and everyone benefits. And maybe, just maybe, the surprise benefactor will be you.

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Susan Elford
About the Author - Susan Elford
Susan Elford, BA (Hons), BPR, APR, Strategic Public Relations Associate With over 20 years in the business, Susan has special interest areas in strategic communications planning, community relations, corporate social responsibility, public consultation, media relations and communications policy development.

2 thoughts on “Passion with Purpose

  1. Just read your take on that presentation re passion and authentic volunteering. So, smarty pants, riddle me this: Are passion and authenticity the same thing in a volunteer capacity? Is one a subset of the other? If so, which is which?

    S.

    1. Oh Steve-O. You’re always thinking. I would think it would be difficult to fake passion, but people have been known to do it. 😉 Volunteering or otherwise.

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