Interview with Appointee Edmundo Cardenas
“Due to my increased understanding and knowledge of volunteering in a not-for-profit organization after completing the DiverseCity onBoard governance training, my efficacy in the area has also been enhanced. It is an honor to be able to contribute and interact with a diverse board, as it implies numerous responsibilities and commitments.”
Certified Human Resources Professional
Edmundo is a human resources professional with more than 10 years of local and international experience in consulting firms, educational institution, construction, and energy sectors. As he was recently appointed board member of Park Committee with Variety Alberta, we spoke to Edmundo about the value of governance training, what he brings to the board table, and the professional and personal benefits he has gained serving on a board.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
How were you introduced to DiverseCity onBoard, and why did you choose to get involved?
I was attending a mentor share event with Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) when the new Diversity onBoard Program was presented. Since one of my goals in 2016 was to know more about governance, I decided to join a board in a not-for-profit organization. It was mentioned that once the governance training was completed a matching program would help connect me with an organization to start getting board experience.
What has your experience been with DiverseCity onBoard? (other board positions, training, networking, how did you grow, learn)
I did not have much experience prior to completing the governance training. I learned about the nomination and election process when I attempted to join the board of the swim team where my daughter trains. After that, I decided to educate myself more on the theory behind governance before seeking experience.
“Having a diverse board is a way to mirror a diverse community as well as stakeholders and clients. The board will secure a better debate which will lead to better decisions due to ideas that reflect different perceptions.”
You were recently appointed to the Park Committee. What is your interest in the board of Variety Alberta- The Children charity?
I was highly interested in gaining experience as a board committee member to be able to perform later as a Chair on one of the Committees. What I enjoy about Variety is that it allows me to understand more about how not-for-profit organizations function. As a Human Resources professional, it also allows me to learn more skills and enrich my knowledge in other areas like governance, fundraising, and risk management.
What are some of the personal and professional benefits of being on a board that you have experienced?
In addition to providing the opportunity to give back to the community, in this case helping kids with disabilities, the program helps me develop personal and professional skills in areas such as governance, leadership, strategic planning, risk management, marketing, branding, fundraising, communication, negotiation, and team-building. At the same time, it presents an opportunity to build new personal relationships, and extend business networks in other fields beyond my profession.
What value do you bring to a board? What impact do you have?
It is an opportunity to enhance my education, professional development, and experience that I already possess. As a Human Resources professional, I am able to contribute my combined experience in different sectors consulting on education, construction, and energy, a vast operational experience, and general business acumen.
I joined Variety in December and the impact will be measured in the mid-term, when we see the results by mid-2017 of the renovation to be completed at Variety Park that enhances features for kids with disabilities which makes it more inclusive.
How has participating in DiverseCity onBoard contributed to your effectiveness as a board member?
Due to my increased understanding and knowledge of volunteering in a not-for-profit organization after completing the DiverseCity onBoard governance training, my efficacy in the area has also been enhanced. It is an honor to be able to contribute and interact with a diverse board, as it implies numerous responsibilities and commitments.
Why do you think diversity on boards is important?
Having a diverse board is a way to mirror a diverse community as well as stakeholders and clients. The board will secure a better debate which will lead to better decisions due to ideas that reflect different perspectives. It will also give more chances to adapt to changes in the environment. Outside the organization, it will be a better way to market, brand and have a better reputation as a diverse and inclusive not-for-profit organization.
“You can progress with the governance training at your own pace and schedule while learning new transferable skills. It will also give you the chance to connect with experienced and well-educated professionals.”
Is there anything you would like to add about your experience and position, or the importance of diversity in leadership that we haven’t asked?
Diverse leaders should integrate this topic into all areas and processes at the organization. They will need to be responsible for creating a more diverse and inclusive environment at all levels, and ensure that this is an essential part of the cultural competence of each employee so they can project this identity outside to their clients and stakeholders and secure more and better business opportunities.
I encourage everyone to participate in this internationally recognized DiverseCity onBoard program. You can progress with the governance training at your own pace and schedule while learning new transferable skills. It will also give you the chance to connect with experienced and well-educated professionals.
There are lots of interesting not-for-profit organizations looking for talented professionals who want to become more effective leaders on a diverse board.