150 Profiles: Samantha Star

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Samantha Star

Current role in the sector: Program Director, Literacy Unlimited

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector:  6 years.

Samantha Star profile picture

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first job in the not-for-profit sector was working for an immersive educational program that allows teens to travel to Poland with Holocaust survivors to visit the concentration camps. Working on this program had a large impact on me as a person and as an educator. Listening to a survivor give first hand testimony is both chilling and impactful. That program enabled me to realize that I wanted to spend my life working towards making a change in my community.

Describe your desk/workspace.
There’s not much I can say: It’s pink.
Many years ago, pink became my signature color. I never really liked it growing up, but I went along with it. Now my entire office is pink. The bulletin board is pink, my stapler is pink, and my ruler is pink. It’s a pretty big topic of conversation. Scattered across my desk are (pink) post-it notes with ideas, (pink) notebooks filled with inspiration and lots of different kinds of tea.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I really enjoyed reading Forces for Good: The six practices of high-impact nonprofits by Leslie R Crutchfield. I think often times, we feel as though we work in silos; that no other organization can understand our struggles and strengths. This book opened my eyes to different organizations and how they do the work they do.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
I often find myself thinking about growth. Where do I go from here? Is there room for me to grow? As a sector, we need to be thinking about employee and volunteer retention. No one wants to feel as though they don’t have the space to spread their wings. I am lucky to feel supported and encouraged to grow and learn, and I hope that I make my volunteers feel the same way!

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com

Samantha Star is Program Director for Literacy Unlimited.

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