Profile of a Professional: Andrea Tolan

Each month, Volunteer Calgary chats with a manager of volunteers with one of our non-profit member organizations to share their personal success stories and best practices  in the field of Volunteer Management.

Andrea Tolan
Manager, Human Resources
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 

Andrea Tolan’s passion for sports and people make her a natural fit for her role at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, an organization which ‘strives to promote the importance of sport to Canadian families and communities by sharing the compelling stories of sport’.

Her wealth of experience in HR has proven valuable to her role as manager of Human Resources, which includes managing volunteers alongside staff. In this role, she develops strategies with management, employees and volunteers to realize the goals of the organization and individuals.

“My day to day work and strong fundamentals in Human Resources Management have allowed me to transfer a similar management approach to the management of volunteers here at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame,” says Tolan.

Volunteers contribute to the day to day operations ofCanada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a variety of roles. Their facility is 100% accessible for all visitors and volunteers.  Volunteers help with tours and exhibits, school programs, special events, and more. 

“Volunteers are members of our team and work towards the same mission and share our passion for sport,” said Tolan. “They are integral to our team.”

As in the sporting world, Tolan ensures that volunteers feel that they are a part of the team from the very beginning. To do this, they make sure that each team member undergoes a comprehensive orientation. This includes a presentation, facility tour and gallery tour, department specific training and a buddy system.  Volunteers are also provided a Volunteer Handbook after the interview process so any further questions can be answered.

Providing volunteers with opportunities for learning and personal and professional growth is also part of the organization’s volunteer engagement strategy.

“My favourite part of my job is providing learning and development opportunities to volunteers, whether academic, personal or professional,” she said. “I love to learn and pass on my passion for knowledge to others.

If there’s any organization that knows the value of recognition, it’sCanada’s Sports Hall of Fame.  They always make it a point that volunteers feel appreciated – from simple “thank yous” to special events in honour of volunteers.

“We will be hosting our first 2012 Volunteer BBQ in recognition of our volunteers who have contributed to many successful day to day activities and events,” she said.

What does Tolan like about living in Calgary?  “Moving from Toronto several years ago, I’ve found the spirit of giving and volunteerism in Calgary is very moving.  It inspires me to contribute in some way every day. There is no better place thatCanada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the sport community to see how dedicatedCalgaryvolunteers are, it is truly an amazing legacy from the ’88 Olympics.”

 “As well, I am a passionate outdoorswoman and I love the opportunity to be in the mountains within an hour.”

 Tips from Andrea Tolan: 

  •  Have fun with volunteers.  Get to know them and get to know what their interests are. Sometimes volunteers have a wealth of knowledge that is  revealed with a short conversation and a few simple questions.
  •  Keep up with trends.  Continually change and stay current on best practices and new ideas.

Check out the Volunteer Calgary website to find out how you volunteer with Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.


About Propellus

Propellus is a non-profit organization that has been empowering organizations since 1955. Through a dynamic range of consulting, training and member services, it helps organizations envision and realize new paths, practices and possibilities. Propellus guides, mentors and educates clients, arming them with tools and resources to help boost organizational effectiveness. Propellus strengthens organizations; in doing so, it leads the way toward building thriving communities.
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