Giving the Gift of Time

Deborah Shannon

One of the great strengths of Interval House is our volunteer force. Along with our loyal community of donors, these volunteers increase our reach and effectiveness in striving for a future free of violence.

Recently we spoke with Deborah Shannon, one of our volunteers in the area of Human Resources for some perspective on volunteering.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

DS: I grew up in Winnipeg, was a scholarship student in the professional division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and graduated from University of Manitoba with a degree in psychology. I’ve always been active in women’s rights issues and acquired experience across all cultures and management levels working in manufacturing, sales, and public communications, eventually establishing a career as a professional speaker and training consultant.

After losing two sons to a very rare genetic kidney disease shortly after their birth, we moved to Saint John, NB where I took a position as Director of Human Resources for an international high-tech startup firm. Later I moved to Toronto and renewed my speaking business, but this time my own illness and other personal losses prevented me from continuing. I decided this was the right time to start volunteering for nonprofits, helping victims of violence.

So what brought you to Interval House?

DS: Interestingly, I lived only a block away! I was walking my dog one summer day when I met Arlene McCalla, Executive Co-Director, who was outside on a break. I shared with her my desire to work directly with clients, helping women rebuild their lives as I’m trying to do now. But as we pursued the possibilities, it was clear that they needed my help most in the area of Human Resources. So here I am.

What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?

DS: The most important part for me is the satisfaction of believing I have contributed to the achievement of Interval House’s Vision and Mission. I work directly with Sharlene, Human Resource Manager, in tasks of organizing, updating and rewriting Volunteer Policies and Procedures as well as filing and other projects that help the management team and staff be more effective.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

DS: Life can hit you very hard and knock you down. It is supremely difficult to get back up if you don’t have someone there who understands your situation with compassion and knows what you need to move forward. That’s what the team at Interval House does consistently 24 hours a day. I have the utmost respect for this highly dedicated management team. And…they have a great camaraderie, and they’re a lot of fun to work with!