150 Profiles: Sarah M. Pachkowsky

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: Sarah M. Pachkowsky

Current role in the sector: Community Engagement Manager with Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island; Board Chair of Volunteer Nanaimo; Leader, Girl Guides of Canada; Mentor, Big Brothers Big Sisters; Co-founder and committee member, Mid-Island Gives and advocate for  the Moose Hide Campaign.

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: I have been in the non-profit sector working for just over 12 years and have been actively involved as a volunteer with multiple organizations since my early teenage years. My parents instilled at a very young age to give back. Even as a child I would sign up to fundraise for organizations such as the Unicef Halloween boxes and Jump Rope for Heart.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first “real job” was serving in a local restaurant. It was there that I realized the power of connection, friendship and giving. As an active volunteer for most of my life however, I never realized how many of the individuals I served lunch or dinner to cared about many of the same causes. That is where my desire to fundraise for positive impact started.

My most defining moment was the day-to-day “stuff”. To see the impact you can make in a person’s life by serving breakfast at a soup kitchen or spending time as a Girl Guides leader seeing the girls learn, laugh and play. One thing I have learned over time is that there is no good deed that doesn’t have a lasting impact. You may not always see it, but it is there.

Describe your desk/workspace.
My desk is usually utter chaos! I would say that is the best way to describe it. I usually have multiple projects on the go and to me everything has its place. However, if you ask my colleagues they may disagree when looking for things on my desk. My office itself is full of Habitat for Humanity ReStore finds that have a unique story or purpose. I have photos of Habitat families, projects, the amazing team I work with and the generous donors and volunteers. Pictures to me are so important, meaningful and impactful!

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
Currently I have a few books on the go. A few which pertain to my schooling and a few, which I cannot get enough of! Currently I am reading: Life on the Ground Floor by James Maskalyk and The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith.

I highly recommend I am Nujood Aged Ten and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Naomi Klien’s No Logo and No Is Not Enough and a must-watch TED Talk speaker and author is Dan Pallotta.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
I believe something our sector and individuals who may not be directly involved with the non-profit sector need to look at is building community. We need to continue to grow and support the individuals who are movers and shakers, who donate countless hours to our communities. We need to support the people who want to make a positive impact with a desire to leave this world a better place than they found it. We need to continue to be innovative and open-minded and most of all inclusive of all people, no matter who they are, where they come from or what their story is. We just need a little more love, a little more compassion and a little more positivity.

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


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