Leadership transition at Volunteer Canada

October 21, 2021

Volunteer Canada Announces Dr. Megan Conway as President and CEO

Ottawa, ON. October 21, 2021 — Volunteer Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Megan Conway as President and Chief Executive Officer.  Megan is succeeding Paula Speevak who is finishing her tenure as CEO after leading the organization since 2014. Dr. Conway will assume the position at the end of November 2021.

Volunteer Canada is excited about the appointment of Megan who has a strong track record of building organizations and teams in the social purpose and academic sectors.  She is skilled at generating impact and in building community-focused initiatives that resonate with diverse stakeholders.  As the country begins to look forward to rebuilding beyond COVID-19, Volunteer Canada believes it has a pivotal role to play in supporting and mobilizing a healthy and strong voluntary sector that will enable strong and more connected communities.  

“Megan is the perfect thought-leader to help guide Volunteer Canada and the volunteer-led sector at this time of intense change,” said Lisa Mort-Putland Chair of the Board. “Megan brings a wonderful combination of passion, curiosity, and critical thinking to this position. We are so pleased to welcome Megan to the Volunteer Canada family and to work together to elevate volunteerism, to explore and build new knowledge, and to eliminate structural barriers that impact volunteers and volunteer-led organizations across Canada.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization at this particular moment in its evolution.  Creating a strong network to enable volunteerism matters now more than ever,” said Dr. Conway, incoming President and CEO. “I am excited to work with diverse partners to build a strong ecosystem that enables and strengthens volunteerism across Canada. In particular, I’m looking forward to engaging with diverse, and too often excluded, communities and organizations to recognize, celebrate, honour and advocate for inclusive, just and sustainable models and systems of volunteering.”

Dr. Conway is currently a Fellow in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University and an Executive in Residence at Capacity Canada.  Most recently she served as Chair of Health and Community Studies at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley.   Her research examines important questions of how the non-profit sector’s capacity differs across geographies and places, and she explores ways the sector might mediate or mitigate place-based change.  Dr. Conway conducts research that considers questions of community philanthropy, place-based change, and charitable sector capacity, and has also taught courses on community change leadership.   

About Volunteer Canada

Volunteer Canada was established to provide national leadership and expertise on volunteer engagement to increase the participation, quality, and diversity of volunteer experiences. Since 1977 we have collaborated closely with volunteer centres, businesses, non-profit organizations, government and educational institutions to promote and broaden volunteering. Our programs, research, training, tools, resources and national initiatives provide leadership on issues and trends in Canada’s volunteer landscape.

Volunteer Canada’s office is located in the traditional territories of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. To the Algonquin Anishinaabe people, who are our leaders, neighbours, and fellow volunteers, we offer gratitude and respect. As uninvited guests on traditional lands, we acknowledge that our work is not possible without the generations of Indigenous people who came before us and continue on our shared journey towards truth and reconciliation.

Media Contacts:

Lisa Mort-Putland, Board Chair
lisa [at] volunteervictoria [dot] bc [dot] ca
(250) 386-2269

Volunteer Canada
2197 Riverside Drive, Suite 305
Ottawa, ON K1H 7X3
(613) 231-4371 or 1 (800) 670-0401
info [at] volunteer [dot] ca  

June 30, 2021

A Message from the Board Chair and President & CEO

Volunteer Canada is embarking on a leadership transition, as we prepare for Paula Speevak to leave her position of President and CEO in the fall. “I hope you will all join me to support her decision and wish her the very best. Paula has been the driver of so much of Volunteer Canada's current success and her skill sets and contributions will be missed,” said Jane Hennig, chair, in her notice to the board.

Paula Speevak has provided leadership for the sector at Volunteer Canada for over 11 years and was part of the Volunteer Centre community for over 30 years. Her contributions are valued and respected across sectors and across our nation.

“In making this decision, I am filled with gratitude for having had such meaningful work and the opportunity to contribute to an organization that I hold close to my heart. While I plan to remain active in the sector, I am seeking a different balance of family, work, and community involvement,” Paula shares. 

The board of directors has struck a transition team to recruit a new President and CEO, to lead the organization into a new chapter in our history. Paula and the staff team will be supporting a smooth transition to facilitate knowledge transfer and connections with key stakeholders.

Volunteer Canada is well positioned is to play a leadership role in working with key stakeholders in the public, private, and non-profit sector to co-create a Canadian Voluntary Action Strategy. Inspired by our international counterparts in Australia, Ireland, and Nigeria, the future of volunteering is calling for us to embrace informal volunteering and organic movements more fully with an overlay of social justice, diversity, and youth engagement.  Propelled by the energy created by the great disruption of the pandemic, we are looking to our next season to harvest the learnings as a springboard for the future of volunteering in Canada.

We look forward to an opportunity to celebrate the contributions that Paula has made to Volunteer Canada and to introduce you to our new President and CEO.

Jane Hennig, Board Chair              
Paula Speevak, President & CEO