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Member Spotlight: Susan Connolly

 | Published on 3/4/2021

Susan Connolly
Name: Susan Connolly

Position: Director of Volunteer Services

Organization: Saint Therese

MAVA Member Since: 2001

Please describe your volunteer program:  
Saint Therese is one of the leading senior healthcare organizations in the Twin Cities.  With five communities, we have volunteers engaged in all areas of operation from providing individual companionship to residents, leading fun games and activities for the residents, teaching art classes, gift shop services, supporting the pastoral care teams with liturgical service or musical gifts, administrative office support, to Foundation fundraising event support, and much more!

What is your role? 
As the director of volunteer services, I provide oversight and direction of volunteer engagement at all Saint Therese communities.  I’m also responsible for the Saint Therese Youth Volunteer Scholarship program.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?  
My education background is Animal Science.  Many years ago, after being a stay-at-home mom with my four children, I ventured back into the work world as a part time adoption specialist at the local humane society. I learned that I could blend my love for animals and my enjoyment of working with people into a meaningful career where I was able to facilitate people helping animals and the community. That morphed into a 14-year career with Animal Humane Society in volunteer services and human resources. Now I’ve been with Saint Therese for nearly six years and have expanded my volunteer management skills and experience to the senior healthcare field.

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?  
For me MAVA is support. MAVA has always been the organization I looked to when I needed to develop some new skills, or find resources to tackle an issue, or connect with peers. MAVA advocates for my profession.  As a MAVA member I’m part of an organization that  increases the capacity of nonprofits which are providing essential needs and services to our community.

Can you recall a time when being a MAVA member directly impacted your work in your organization?  What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact?  
When I began my work with Saint Therese I knew I needed to learn things that are particular to the healthcare field, and I knew that through MAVA I could find that.  I connected with a new peer network and found the information, support and experience I needed to transition and be successful in this sector.  

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?  
Take advantage of the variety of ways you can expand your knowledge base. Join as many Connections sessions as you can.  Get involved with a committee that sparks your interest.  Find a peer network- they will be a source of strength, knowledge, and community for you.