Not afraid of commitment

For your 21st anniversary you’re supposed to receive gifts of brass or nickel. But Brenda Roy, United Way of Calgary and Area’s longest standing external campaign coordinator (ECC), deserves solid gold.

For more than two decades, Brenda, a longttime employee of PCL Construction Management, has been constructing winning workplace campaigns to help strengthen the community. She first stepped into the role of ECC because she saw an opportunity to give back to both her city and to PCL. At the time she certainly didn’t foresee leading PCL’s United Way campaign 21 years later.

The campaign’s positive impact on her workplace and seeing the effects that the money they raise has on the community is what has kept Brenda coming back year after year. “What I quickly found out was that the United Way campaign does much more than just raise money for social issues in Calgary − it unites people. And it changes lives.”

Initially Brenda planned and led a campaign for about 70 employees. Today, PCL has over 500 employees, so Brenda has had to adapt, get creative and bring on a partner. Kelli Oystryk came on board as co-ECC 10 years ago and the dynamic duo has been unstoppable ever since.

“Our goal every year is to increase participation. We go about this this in three ways: raising awareness of social issues, raising awareness of the work of United Way, and planning fun team-oriented events.”

Brenda shares that in her experience the most effective way to engage and educate employees is to bring in a speaker to share their own personal story. “Hearing people’s stories and their hopes and dreams is very powerful. It’s truly moving and inspiring for all of us.”

Brenda is a strong source of inspiration herself and no stranger to the notion of “paying it forward.” Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi brought this point home in his video (below) for the 2012 Spirits of Gold People Power Award, which was presented to Brenda. This point was also made clear by PCL Vice President & District Manager and United Way Cabinet Member Rob Otway:

“For over 20 years Brenda has been helping to make making positive change in our city. She truly embodies the very definition of leading by example.”

Thank you Brenda, and thank you as well to all of our other remarkable volunteers, for  helping to educate your colleagues about social issues, show them how they can make a difference and invite them to be active participants in shaping our great city. We couldn’t do it without you!

United Way 2012 Spirits of Gold – People Power Award from Calgary United Way on Vimeo.

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