150 Profiles: Lynne Skromeda

As a way to mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist profiled Canadians from across the non-profit sector and put a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector. As 2017 drew to a close, we published our final profile of 2017 — reaching our target of speaking with 150 people! The Philanthropist recognizes that Canada’s history did not begin 150 years ago. And it will continue beyond 150 years. In this spirit, we will continue to profile people in the non-profit sector throughout 2018.

Name: Lynne Skromeda

Current role in the sector: Executive Director, Winnipeg Folk Festival

Lynne Skromeda profile picture

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 5.5 years working, 11 years volunteering.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
I first got involved when I was asked to volunteer on the board of the West End Cultural Centre, an organization I was excited to support because of my love of music, especially live music. It was my intro into the sector and ultimately what got me on the path to my current position as executive director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, another organization that has been near and dear to me — I’d been attending as a patron for over 30 years when I got the job!

Describe your desk/workspace.
I’m lucky to be on a street corner with big windows that look into the heart of Winnipeg’s Exchange District. On my walls I have posters of our festival lineups from the past years to remind me of all the great performers we’ve had over the years. I also have a “1000 Places to See Before You Die” page-a-day calendar to provide inspiration for all the places to which I would like to travel. Practically speaking, I have a MacBook Air on a stand, a second monitor and separate wireless keyboard – this helps to make me more efficient as I work.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
Excellence in Fundraising in Canada, edited by Guy Mallabone, provides a general understanding of the sector when you’re first learning but is also an excellent tool to keep referring back to along the way. Imagine Canada and Charity Village have great newsletters and websites and Nonprofit AF has a great blog posted on Monday mornings and a couple of solid Facebook communities – they have a great sense of humour but also wonderful take on the sector that includes a US perspective.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day needs, but we need to constantly think about innovation. One of my favourite phrases is “What got you here isn’t going to get you there,” meaning to keep up with the times and progress, you need to always be thinking about continuous improvement and best practices and what you can do to improve. Obtaining and acting on feedback from your stakeholders is also crucial – listen to what your people have to say – everyone’s opinion has value. Ensuring organizations always keep learning and evolving will be the key to long term sustainability and success.

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

Lynne Skromeda is Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival.