Top 10 things I loved about working at the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues

As many of you know, in addition to being the Ward F Edmonton Public School Trustee, I’ve been employed as the Marketing Director for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL).

Sadly, as of August 31st 2012, I will be leaving the EFCL.

If you are looking for purposeful, flexible work that has you doing real projects to make our city better, I urge you to apply for this job.

I’ve been paid to encourage neighbours getting to know their neighbours and to increase building their capacity to make cool things happen in their neighbourhoods. It’s an extrovert’s dream job! Pinch me, right?

My role included teaching volunteers skills, connecting them with services, planning events and parties, and much more. I’ve had a fantastic team of coworkers, a switched-on EFCL board team, and the opportunity to work with thousands of volunteers from every neighbourhood in Edmonton.

For someone who wasn’t born in Edmonton, this job has made me feel like I know the city inside-out, and that I’ve lived here since the 1911 construction of the High Level Bridge.

In no particular order, here are my TOP TEN favorite memories of working for Edmonton Community Leagues…


1. Co-creating Community League Day with the EFCL team:

“Hey guys! What if we hosted a block party or festival in every Edmonton neighbourhood on the same day? What if we did it every year on the third Saturday of September?”

That’s how Community League Day was born. 90 Leagues participated the first year. 100 the second. This year over 110 are expected to participate. If the popularity keeps growing, a decade from now Community League Day will be one of Edmonton’s marquis events like the Fringe of the Heritage Festival.

I visited a dozen events each year and was honored to have helped organize such a crazy festival — including our ridiculous media stunts like the Worlds Largest Quilt or the City Council Croquet Game!

2. Working with partner organizations who support Edmonton:

The numerous partner organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with have been amazing. Sponsorship and partnerships were a key part of my role and I couldn’t have met an easier, more like-minded group to work with.

I owe a special shout-out to the good folks at the Office of Great Neighbourhoods and Community Services, especially Stephane Labonne and Kathy Barnhart who have helped us launch a few really innovative initiatives.

Our corporate partners really stepped up. It’s been a pleasure working with Jon Hall with the Edmonton Real Estate Board, Cheryl Kaziuk with Servus Credit Union, Jason Bossert with FPB, and the whole Edmonton Examiner team. These folks really know how important it is to build strong relationships with Edmonton neighbourhoods.

Within the non-profit sector, I’d like to throw a big thank you to Leslie Evans and the team at the Federation of Calgary Communities, Russ Dahms at the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations and Karen Lynch at Volunteer Alberta for their mentorship and guidance.

3. The Edmonton Next Gen Committee and the Edmonton Community Challenge:

From the first gathering at Orange Hall, to allowing me speak at Pecha Kucha night #5 to the Edmonton Community Challenge 2010, 2011 and the (ongoing) 2012, it’s been a riot!

On behalf of marketing people and non-profits everywhere, thanks for always pushing our events through your fantastic newsletter.

The City of Edmonton Next Generation team has been a fantastic help in our efforts to recruit more “Under 40” year old Edmontonians to community leagues. The whole team has been amazing, in particular Tegan, Sherman, Michelle, and Christine have been fantastic and I really appreciate your help and energy.

4. The New Kids On Your Block Outreach Parties of May 2012:

My job couldn’t have been cooler! I was paid to throw parties with local musicians and DJs, food, Alley Kat beer, and entertainment in order to recruit more young adults to community leagues.

I hope that these events inspire many more neighbourhood folk festivals, parties, and community gardens in future!

5. The staff and board members of the EFCL:

I’ve appreciated the collaboration and support of the EFCL Board and Staff team, especially Allan Bolstad who has been an amazing mentor and friend. We’ve shared so many lunches, and at every opportunity I’ve tried to soak up as much of his political and journalistic lectures– plus we’ve had many laughs along the way.

And I’ll really miss the team! Every single initiative on this list was done collaboratively. No matter the project, all hands were available to help.

Valerie is a communications wizard. Linda is a money magician. Andrea is the captain of conflict resolution. Bev takes living local to heart. Shahriyar lives the cultural outreach and integration gospel. Joanne is the office mother who never misses an opportunity to remind me what’s important in life: good wine and a happy wife.

What a wonderful workplace!

6. Never the same day twice! Other-duties-as-required:

One of the highlights of the non-profit sector is the do-it-yourself attitude. We know that we have a lot to do, but little money to do it with.

“Can you find us a new neon sign? Can you find us a few talented summer students? Do you want to go for a midnight ride with the Mill Woods Community Patrol? Can you teach these workshops? Build a parade float? Apply for grants? Write articles? Can you help us develop a multi-million dollar fundraising strategy for our centenial projects?”

The EFCL has its hands in everything in Edmonton. If you are keen, it’s a tremendous learning opportunity.

7. Three years of the Heritage Festival:

Jack Little and his volunteers throw a heck of a party!

Organizing a community league presence at the Heritage Festival was an amazing chance to get out of the office. Footballs! Volunteers! It’s community league rush week! Not only did we sign up thousands of new emails for our e-news newsletter, we spread the word to everyone in the park about the cool things Edmonton neighbourhoods are doing!

8. Organizing the Community League Tradeshow:

Having the opportunity to organize and execute the EFCL Tradeshow 2010 and 2011 was a great opporunity to connect our volunteers with amazing businesses and services that they needed. For those of you looking to learn and grow, you won’t want to miss the Leagues Alive 2012 Conference and Tradeshow coming up on November 3rd.

9. Strategic planning, the Living Local Campaign and the 2011 Living Local Summit:

What should Edmonton look like in 20 years? What will neighbourhoods look like? How can we revitalize our communities, promote active transportation and reduce traffic? How can we develop great neighbourhoods where  people feel good about where they live?

These questions and many others fueled the construction of the EFCL Business Plan and the organization of the October 2011 Living Local Summit. Having the opportunity to work and think long-term about the direction of our communities– and then take tangible steps to make that vision a reality, was an incredibly rewarding experience.

10. The friendly people of Edmonton:

In a mere 4 years, I’ve met over 3000 hard-working Edmontonians from over 154 neighbourhoods. They selflessly chip away planning events, publishing newsletters, and making life better for their neighbours. Their labours make their communities stronger and safer for years to come.

Almost everyone I meet had some involvement at some point with their own local community league. Maybe it was coaching a sports team. Maybe it was as an attendee at a party. There is truly something special about the legacy of volunteerism in Edmonton that is happening all around us in our own neighbourhoods.

As Ron Kuban’s book recorded, Edmonton is a city of urban villages and no two neighbourhoods are alike! Edmonton Stories recently did a feature on the EFCL and community leagues captured here:

It’s been such a special opportunity, both for my personal and professional development. As you can tell, I remain passionate about the work and the organization.

The job description will be posted this week on

Check it out, and please pass it along to exceptional candidates in your network.

Employment Opportunity

Director of Marketing

Job Description:

The primary responsibility of the marketing director will be to help raise funds for EFCL programs and operations.  The director will also be asked to help with development of the EFCL market brand, promotions and updates to the business plan. Finally, the individual will be invited to take part and help manage other EFCL programs, depending on the interests and abilities of the candidate.

Fundraising Duties:

a)     Help raise funds for the EFCL’s 100th Anniversary Project, a $2 million (plus or minus) upgrade to Hawrelak Park.

b)    Solicitation of vendors and management of annual EFCL trade show.

c)     Solicitation of sponsors and management of annual Community League Day promotion.

d)    Solicitation of EFCL sponsorships and management of existing accounts.

e)     Apply for grants from various orders of government and foundations.

Knowledge and Experience:

a)     Fundraising experience, including government grants, corporate sponsorships, designing donor recognition programs.

b)    Proven success in relationship building, excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.

c)     Computer proficiency using MS Office Applications (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook).

d)    Positive, enthusiastic attitude and an ability to work independently and as part of a team.

e)     Understanding of non-profit environment and community league system.

f)     Valid driver’s license.

Salary/Hours of Work:

– $45,000 per year, plus benefits and performance based incentives.

– Flexible work hours/75 bi-weekly.

Closing Date:

Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.


How to Apply:

Please send covering letter, resume and the names of three references to Allan Bolstad, Executive Director, Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, at [email protected]


For more information, check out:

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