Social Engagement: Finding Your Cause
September 23, 2022. By Amélie for Private Banking 1859.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, WHY GET INVOLVED?
For Julie Beaudet, Vice President, Commercial Banking and Private Banking 1859, National Bank, giving back is important for people who have been fortunate in life. She somehow knew that she would eventually need to find a way to get involved, propose actions that have a purpose and be able to make a real difference in the community: “I was in a state of contradiction for a long time; I was in a hurry, busy with work and involved in my children’s lives, always racing against the clock. I kept telling myself that one day, I would have to find a way to make a real difference in the community.” The calling for such involvement was already within her, though placed on the backburner due to time constraints.
FINDING THE PURPOSE
Then one day, Julie was triggered into finding the purpose of her future involvement. A person close to her was battling cancer and could not afford the treatment that she had to pay. Julie quickly realized the magnitude of the financial investment patients with rare or complex illnesses must make. She realized that treatment options were limited. That not everyone had equal access to healthcare. That some people had the means to “buy themselves a longer life”, and this was unacceptable. She felt like she had to do something.
When the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR) Foundation contacted her in April, she was truly able to connect the Foundation’s goals with her own. As a major partner of the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR), the HMR Foundation supports the hospital’s strategic development orientation to better meet patient needs. For example, the Together for the HMR Fund provides the hospital with essential resources to maintain quality for healthcare, research, training and education of the professional staff, while considering current and future challenges.*
WHAT DOES A LEADER GAIN FROM GETTING INVOLVED?
Aside from being directly involved in the need to make a difference, Julie believes that her commitment to the Foundation makes her lucid and humble, thus making her a better manager.
It takes on a whole new meaning when she is invited to visit the impressive research centre at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, specialized in immunology-oncology, vision health and nephrology: “You get to see firsthand the direct impact of your contribution. An elderly person may get their eyesight back as a result of the research conducted. There is a sense of urgency, of life and death. It is a great lesson in humility, especially when our work is more abstract. Being involved that way is seeing the concrete impact of our efforts. It’s touching and gratifying, both in my professional and personal life.”
And as a leader and having to talk about ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), she now has a special relationship with the “S” in ESG—the social side—through her direct involvement. She has a better understanding of what it represents and has a different perspective, more hindsight, a better overview of the issues. It is her way of walking the talk.
FINDING YOUR CAUSE
Indeed, how does a person turn their thoughts into actions and find their cause? We asked Julie for advice on where to start. According to her, starting with the basics is key and then finding something you already care about. Some causes are obvious if you scratch the surface: “You need to stop and think about what truly affects you positively and negatively. Situations that were unsettling and transformative. They can often be easily related to a charity.” For her, inequality and injustice were the starting point. Then came the realization that some people could afford to keep on living while others could not. That overwhelming experience inspired her to get involved and make a difference in making healthcare generally accessible. In her opinion, finding your cause shouldn’t be too complex, it should be self-evident and contribute to something that is bigger than you. You should ask yourself two questions: What do you want to change in the world? And what skills can you use to achieve it?
The greatest thing about it all is that the mere fact of getting involved and sharing your experience encourages others around you to do the same: “It is inspiring to see someone transform for the better through their volunteering experience.” Through her involvement with the HMR Foundation, Julie Beaudet not only wants to help provide better access to healthcare for everyone, but also raise awareness on the benefits of being involved: “I truly believe that we are responsible for doing more.”
In short, to find your cause and make it your own, it is important to start with self-reflection, combine your skills with the values you want to advocate, and think about the direct impact that your contribution could have. For Julie Beaudet, getting involved is a lesson in humility that makes her a better leader and she wants to inspire others to do the same.
Here are some references to help you search for causes:
- JeBenevole.ca is the provincial platform for matching volunteer centres and non-profit organizations (NPOs) with volunteers. https://www.jebenevole.ca/
- Fédération des centres d’action bénévole du Québec is a non-profit organization that groups 115 volunteer centres across Quebec (website in French only). https://www.fcabq.orgVolunteer Canada is a registered charity, providing national leadership and expertise on volunteerism to increase the participation, quality and diversity of volunteer experiences. https://volunteer.ca