TAVA Member Spotlight


Name: Diana Church

Organization: Operation Smile Canada

Role: Director, Volunteer & Student Programs

Working in the Volunteer Engagement Sector since: 2012 after transitioning from the corporate sector

Been a part of TAVA for: just over 9 months


"I highly recommend connecting with other volunteer engagement professionals through TAVA and other associations for the nonprofit sector. Not only will you feel a sense of community but there is also a wealth of knowledge through experience that exists within these networks."

As someone working in Volunteer Engagement, how does TAVA help you?

TAVA helps me on so many levels. The tools, resources and workshops available to us have been invaluable. Most importantly, TAVA makes it easy to connect with incredibly talented and passionate volunteer management professionals.

In the past year, what was your most memorable professional project and why?

In the past year, my team and I have been setting up the infrastructure to transition the management of our Canadian medical volunteers from our Headquarters in the US to our office in Toronto. Networking and bouncing ideas off of other TAVA members has been invaluable through this process. 

This project was especially memorable because part of the process involved going on one of our medical missions as part of my onboarding. The most challenging part was learning about the different medical specialties we engage since I don't have a medical background. Lucky for me it wasn't a requirement for the position!

Would you please explain the professional success you're most proud of and how you implemented it?


In my previous role, I had the opportunity to build a volunteer portal from scratch with the support of a strong and dedicated group of colleagues. We also included some of our volunteers in the process which was invaluable since the tool served their needs as much as it served ours. The first week we launched it, we had over 8,000 volunteers create their accounts! It was the most challenging project because of all of the layers involved but also the most rewarding. Fast forward a few years later and I am working with our global network of volunteer managers at Operation Smile to develop a new Volunteer Management System from the ground up!

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge to working in Volunteer Engagement?

The biggest challenge to working in volunteer engagement is limited budgets available to engage and recognize volunteers. This is the greatest opportunity at the same time because it motivates volunteer management professionals to be creative and work with the tools and resources that are available.

What advice would you give to someone looking to take the next step in their Volunteer Engagement career?

I highly recommend connecting with other volunteer engagement professionals through TAVA and other associations for the nonprofit sector. Not only will you feel a sense of community but there is also a wealth of knowledge through experience that exists within these networks.

When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

When I'm not working I love spending time with my family!

Published: October 2018
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