Member involvement in the Canadian Seed Trade Association is important to the long-term success of the association. Everyone has something to contribute, from new ideas and skill sets, to sharing a challenge that could be addressed by CSTA. We are always ready to hear new ideas from members.
One of CSTA’s primary resources is its active membership and roster of committed volunteers. These are companies and individuals who give freely of their time and expertise to make a difference in the association and industry. Volunteers serve on CSTA, Seed Association of the Americas and International Seed Federation working groups and committees, and on the board of directors, providing guidance and helping staff carry out the strategic directions of the association. There are many personal and professional advantages to volunteering for CSTA, with benefits to both CSTA and the volunteer. Specific experience is not always needed as one of the biggest advantages to volunteering is learning from other members.
Identify Emerging Leaders
Maintaining this group of committed individuals is a priority. There is always the chance that existing volunteers might “burn out” or that circumstances will change, and they can no longer help. One strategy suggested by President Brent Derkatch is for CSTA members to look within their companies and recommend any future leaders who might be looking for opportunities to get involved.
Two CSTA member companies, BrettYoung Seeds and CANTERRA SEEDS, have recently recommended emerging leaders who were appointed in July by the board of directors to the Stakeholder Relations Work Group.
Eric Gregory has been the director of marketing at BrettYoung Seeds since November 2015. During the past months, he became interested in learning more about CSTA and in supporting the industry that helps him earn a living. Participation in the Stakeholder Relations Work Group aligns with Eric’s skills in public outreach and marketing. Being a part of the work group contributes to greater insight on the seed trade for Eric, and supports his goal of doing his day-to-day job better and helping support the success of his company.
With more than 10 years of experience at CANTERRA SEEDS, Sheena Pitura is another emerging leader. For Sheena, who serves as director of marketing, volunteering on the Stakeholder Relations Work Group is a tangible way to make a difference. In addition, CSTA benefits from her experience in communications and outreach. She encourages employers to support employees who are considering volunteer opportunities, as sometimes it can be intimidating for new volunteers to put their name forward. Making a difference and helping out the association, however, more than makes up for it.
Ultimately, members who volunteer for CSTA take away more than they put in, plus interest. We hope that if someone taps you on the shoulder, calls for volunteers or personally calls, you will answer.
CSTA is always looking for and welcomes new volunteers. With the approaching Semi-Annual Meeting, CSTA will be looking for volunteers for committee leadership roles. Interested members should email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, to add their name to the list.