It’s always healthy for an organization to take “inventory”: to take the measure of where the organization is, to take stock, to take a snapshot, as it were. Then, from there, an organization can look at making meaningful improvements.
An Annual General Meeting (AGM) provides a fine opportunity for such “inventory” taking. It serves as an exercise by which an organization looks back on a one-year period, assesses what took place in that year, and looks for things learned that can be applied in following years.
Shalem’s most recent AGM, held on May 24, 2017, provided such an opportunity. It was a wonderful event held at a church across the street from Shalem’s new office in Hamilton. We were greeted by Don McNiven of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and we did an exercise to explore how Shalem can become more deeply embedded in communities.
We explored the program highlights of the 2016 year, reviewed the 2016 audited financial statement, and thanked Board members, staff, members, supporters and friends. We ended with a celebratory reception and tour at our new office space, at 875 Main Street West in Hamilton. It was an event during which we gave thanks. For more, I encourage everyone to read our Annual Report.
But the “stock-taking” will not end there. At Shalem we have a strong workplace, with exceptionally talented staff members and strong relationships among us. But we can always improve. Both the Board and staff are looking at our organizational structure in an intentional way, to ensure that organizationally we are able to support the continuing growth of Shalem’s ministries.
Strengthening Shalem’s “business model” is one of the three priorities of Impact and Influence, Shalem’s current Strategic Plan. A “Business Model Working Group,” consisting of several Board and staff members, is delving deeply into those themes. And at our annual Staff In-Service day, which will be held this year on July 11, as a staff we will be looking to “map” where we are organizationally and then brainstorm creatively about how to strengthen even further our workplace and our workplace culture.
In support of that aim, I am thrilled to announce a brand new “Leadership Development” partnership for Shalem. Shalem is honoured to have been accepted by The Catalyst Foundation into their “Catalyst Partners Leadership Program.” Starting in September, we will embark on a three-year journey with Catalyst, supported by funding from them, to strengthen our Leadership Development path across the whole of Shalem. We are most grateful to the Catalyst Foundation for the confidence they have shown us, and we look forward to some dynamic work together!
Please pray for all of us as we seek to build upon and strengthen the gifts that God has graced us with. And we wish you every good thing in your endeavours to support people on the journey to mental health and wellness.
Mark Vander Vennen, MA, M.Ed, R.S.W., is the Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network