150 Profiles: Javier Schwersensky

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: Javier Schwersensky

Current role in the sector: Chief Executive Officer at the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The WHS is one of the oldest charities in Manitoba.

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: Volunteering for 25 years; working in the sector for 11 years.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first job was as a Director of Marketing, Sales and Programs at the Manitoba Museum. Seeing over 85,000 kids go through the Museum every year and knowing that Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk was inspired by the Planetarium at The Manitoba Museum convinced me that charities are critical in shaping the future, remembering the past and doing right by whichever cause they espouse.

Describe your desk/workspace.
I have a stand-up desk, which I truly like, some magazines and books and this week’s donation receipts from our amazing donors. I personally sign and add a handwritten thank you note to any monthly donor and any donor who gives over $200. They deserve all our gratitude.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I am a very eclectic reader and I like to draw from business and science books as much as fundraising/donor relations. I read The Economist and the New York Times; I subscribe to several RSS feeds (Imagine Canada’s Nonprofit Newswire, Nonprofit Hub, Nonprofit Times, Harvard Business Review). I also have set up Google Alerts.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
I think in general charities need to focus on the changing expectations of our donors and supporters; the role of technology and social media in the way we solicit donations and tell our stories; and the need to be more accountable and transparent in everything we do.

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


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