change lives.

Making connections for Shannon and others

At the United Way, we often hear from non-profit organizations looking for talented individuals to join their boards. And we hear from community-minded people ready to invest some of their time giving back.

Indeed, more and more people are getting in touch, not sure where to start on their journey.

People like Shannon Manuel, a Saint Johner who moved out to Alberta for a while before coming back.

In Wetaskiwin, Alta., she helped women connect with other female entrepreneurs and leaders. She still remembers the day she invited some in the community for an informal chat at the local coffee shop to discuss creating their growing businesses and building their network – and 40 women showed up.

From that day on, it wasn’t hard for her to see how her involvement was making a difference to people and to the community. She loved it, and missed it after coming back home to Saint John.

She rang us looking for suggestions.

“What I really liked about the approach is that it wasn’t ‘OK, here is a board you could join.’ It was more ‘What are you passionate about? Where do you want to make a difference?’” Shannon recalls.

After that exploration, we introduced her to the Saint John Women’s Empowerment Network.

Shannon didn’t waste much time in getting involved, and even drafted colleagues at RBC Royal Bank to join her in establishing a mentorship program to keep the momentum going for women who had gone through the network’s PowerUp program. They launched their brand new mentorship program on March 8, International Women’s Day.

And she’ll soon be looking for ways to get more active with the board of directors. Building strong and diverse boards is important to growing sustainable and impactful organizations in Saint John, Kings and Charlotte counties.

We are delighted to undertake this kind of introduction – making connections that make a difference.