150 Profiles: Shelby Maunder

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: Shelby Maunder

Current role in the sector: Executive Director of BYTE Empowering Youth Society, based in the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council in the Yukon.

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 8 years.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first job in the sector was as an intern at Bikes Without Borders (BWB). BWB uses bikes and bike-related solutions to empower individuals and communities through mobility. During the time I was with BWB, we were starting a new project called The Great Bike Recycle! This project focused on outfitting families from underserved areas in the City of Toronto with refurbished bicycles. We organized an event where folks could donate their bicycles and then planned several bike maintenance sessions for youth — they worked hard on their bikes and at the end, they rode them away for keeps!

Describe your desk/workspace.
At BYTE, we have an awesome open concept office where our whole team is working together in a common space. It really allows for us all to support each other and collaborate daily. My desk is often an organized mess (you know — piles of paper that are organized but everywhere) and my computer screen is lined with little pictures of cute baby animals. A former co-worker read a study somewhere that said looking at cute animals increases productivity so we printed a bunch and all chose our favourites, I have a baby donkey, pig, hedgehog and bulldog!

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I’ve been listening to a podcast called Tiny Spark that investigates philanthropy, non-profits and for-profit social good initiatives. It features some really great interviews with a diverse group of folks working in the sector and it also examines some really tough topics that we need to think critically about. I’m also reading Indigenous Writes: A guide to First Nations, Metis and Inuit Issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel, she is also the author of one of my favourite blogs âpihtawikosisân.  It’s really important for non-Indigenous folks to do their own learning and unlearning — I have a long way to go but am grateful for the books, resources and mentors that help me along the way!

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
The sector needs to be thinking about making room for young people and valuing their contributions. There is a lot of negative press out there about millennials in the workplace and it really undermines the amazing contributions I see young people making in the sector every day. Youth are critical and innovative thinkers who are making our organizations stronger — let’s hear them out! 

Our sector should also be seriously thinking about and taking ongoing action to decolonize. We have a responsibility to understand our shared history and to understand how the systems we work in can be problematic. Our organization has used the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and an excellent course offered by Yukon College, History of Yukon First Nations, as a starting point.

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


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