Katelyn James is the 2022 recipient of the Jackson Family Scholarship in Community Engagement. She’s an MPNL student and Operations Director at One City Peterborough, a nonprofit organization serving people experiencing homelessness and criminalization.

Katelyn is passionate about community development, organizational leadership and envisioning structures that best serve the mission and values of an organization. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector for 12 years and was involved in the founding and development of several organizations. When not immersed in nonprofit work, she enjoys playing with her two lively boys and exploring the beauty of the Kawarthas, Ontario, where she lives with her family. Her full bio is here.

The scholarship is awarded to an individual who demonstrates a strong potential for leadership and innovation in community engagement on high-priority issues to nonprofits, government and businesses. (Donate to the scholarship here.)

How has staff turnover affected nonprofit groups, especially after Covid?

I have personally seen how staff turnover leads to gaps in service delivery and impacts service users. Considering the growing needs of the sector as a whole, and specifically as witnessed in housing and homelessness, addressing this issue is essential. Canada’s nonprofit sector is facing a major leadership transition and a general, labour-market shortage, while facing increased demands for services. Burnout and employee turnover among social service nonprofits are high. I believe innovation is needed to address these challenges and am particularly interested in exploring how new models of leadership and collaboration can help foster resilient workplace cultures.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a project that focuses on emergent models of leadership and organizational structures that foster inclusion and well-being in social service nonprofits. In a setting where ‘getting by’ and ‘putting out fires’ can become norms, I’m excited to contribute to research, working with One City Peterborough (Ontario) to help move beyond the status quo and drive meaningful community impact.

What are your future plans?

I plan to move into an executive director role in the future, and this project will directly support my ability to do so. It will also strengthen my competence and confidence to be able to share resources with other nonprofit organizations and potentially will lead to even further research on this topic.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in , ,
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