All Posts By


10 tips on Volunteering Wisely

By | Help


10 tips on Volunteering Wisely

  1. Research the causes or issues important to you.
    Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. You might already be giving money to one of these organizations, and that might be a good place to begin your volunteer experience. If you can’t find such an organization, here’s a challenging and intriguing thought: why not start one yourself? You can rally your neighbors to clean up that vacant lot on the corner, patrol the neighborhood, paint an elderly neighbor’s house, take turns keeping an eye on the ailing person down the street, or form a group to advocate for a remedy to that dangerous intersection in your neighborhood. There is no end to the creative avenues for volunteering, just as there is no end to the need for volunteers.
  2. Consider the skills you have to offer.
    If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality. Many positions require a volunteer who has previous familiarity with certain equipment, such as computers, or who possesses certain skills, such as ability in athletics or communications. For one of these positions you might decide to do something comparable to what you do on the job during your workday, or something that you already enjoy as a hobby. This sort of position allows you to jump right into the work without having to take training to prepare for the assignment.
  3. Would you like to learn something new?
    Perhaps you would like to learn a new skill or gain exposure to a new situation. Consider seeking a volunteer opportunity where you’ll learn something new. For example, volunteering to work on the newsletter for the local animal shelter will improve your writing and editing abilities – skills that may help you in your career. Or, volunteering can simply offer a change from your daily routine. For example, if your full-time job is in an office, you may decide to take on a more active volunteer assignment, such as leading tours at an art museum or building a playground. Many nonprofits seek out people who are willing to learn. Realize beforehand, however, that such work might require a time commitment for training before the actual volunteer assignment begins.
  4. Combine your goals.
    Look for volunteer opportunities that will also help you achieve your other goals for your life. For example, if you want to lose a few extra pounds, pick an active volunteer opportunity, such as cleaning a park or working with kids. Or, if you’ve been meaning to take a cooking class, try volunteering at a food bank that teaches cooking skills.
  5. Don’t over-commit your schedule.
    Make sure the volunteer hours you want to give fit into your hectic life, so that you don’t frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organization you’re trying to help or neglect your job. Do you want a long-term assignment or something temporary? If you are unsure about your availability, or want to see how the work suits you before making an extensive commitment, see whether the organization will start you out on a limited number of hours until you get the feel of things. Better to start out slowly than to commit yourself to a schedule you can’t or don’t want to fulfill.
  6. Nonprofits may have questions, too.
    While most nonprofits are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting the services you offer. If you contact an organization with an offer to volunteer your time, you may be asked to come in for an interview, fill out a volunteer application, or describe your qualifications and your background just as you would at an interview for a paying job. It is in the organization’s interest and more beneficial to the people it serves to make certain you have the skills needed, that you are truly committed to doing the work, and that your interests match those of the nonprofit. Furthermore, in volunteer work involving children or other at-risk populations, there are legal ramifications for the organization to consider.
  7. Consider volunteering as a family.
    Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity suitable for parents and children to do together, or for a husband and wife to take on as a team. When a family volunteers to work together at a nonprofit organization, the experience can bring them closer together, teach young children the value of giving their time and effort, introduce everyone in the family to skills and experiences never before encountered, and give the entire family a shared experience as a wonderful family memory.
  8. Virtual volunteering?
    Yes, there is such a thing! If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work over the computer. This might take the form of giving free legal advice, typing a college term paper for a person with a disability, or simply keeping in contact with a shut-in who has e-mail. This sort of volunteering might be well suited to you if you have limited time, no transportation, or a physical disability that precludes you from getting about freely. Virtual volunteering can also be a way for you to give time if you simply enjoy computers and want to employ your computer skills in your volunteer work.
  9. I never thought of that!
    Many community groups are looking for volunteers, and some may not have occurred to you. Most of us know that hospitals, libraries, and churches use volunteers for a great deal of their work, but here are some volunteer opportunities that may not have crossed your mind:

    • Day care centers, Neighborhood Watch, Public Schools and Colleges
    • Halfway houses, Community Theaters, Drug Rehabilitation Centers, Fraternal Organizations and Civic Clubs
    • Retirement Centers and Homes for the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, Church or Community-Sponsored Soup Kitchens or Food Pantries
    • Museums, Art Galleries, and Monuments
    • Community Choirs, Bands and Orchestras
    • Prisons, Neighborhood Parks, Youth Organizations, Sports Teams, and after-school programs Shelters for Battered Women and Children
    • Historical Restorations, Battlefields and National Parks
  10. Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering!
    Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit, which in itself is a priceless gift. What you’ll get back will be immeasurable!

Here are 5 tips to making the Judges notice you!

By | News

Here are 5 tips to making the Judges notice you!

The Top 20 under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards is one of the top awards you can win on Vancouver Island.  Every year 100’s submit nominations and only 20 are awarded, so if you have applied before or are planning on applying this year – here is some great tips to help your nomination submission really stand out.


  1. Have a well-organized and well-designed submission.

Include in your nomination package a current resume, awards you have received, and anything you have that makes you stand out!  Do not be shy and put some energy into your submission, make it look clean, professional, and well planned out.   Contact a graphic designer to help like Katrina at Elite Image (past winner) to make it pop.  Also submit early – do not wait to the last minute to send in your nomination package.


  1. 50% business 50% Community

The award is based on your both your professional and community achievements so remember to balance your submission with both areas covered.  If you do not have a lot of community work – please go do some!  Every winner that we interview has said emphatically that the more you give the more you get back and it is the underlining principal of the Top 20 under 40 awards.  So get active in your community, donate some energy to causes that you believe in, and above all make a difference.


  1. Have a good head shot and bio!

guyI know this may seem simple but it is often the most overlooked part of a nomination submission but it sure adds to the overall professional look of your nomination package.  Not like this guy!

Have a 100 word bio about you – here is a great example:

(insert name here) has a passion for world travelling, non-profits, and building an amazing business.  When not in the community donating time to local charity needs such as (insert causes here), (he/she) is in the office (insert profession here) and enabling others to grow too.  (He/She) is a professional and caring leader with dedicated family values, and lives by the motto “work hard, play hard”.  When (he/she) needs to relax you can find him/her doing (insert pastime activity here)



  1. Recommendation letters

Have at least 3 letters of recommendation from community leaders and business leaders!  Keep them current and relatable to the award.  A great recommendation letter is one from a respected leader in your community so do not be shy to go ask for them.  Good examples are Mayors, notable Business Leaders, Past Winners, etc.



  1. Attend 20 under 40 events in your area

This is a great way to meet the Past Winners, our Sponsors, and Judges, get some tips and have some fun networking.  Also another great place to find some recommendation letter writers!

Nominations Are Now Open

By | News

Nominations by peers and colleagues will be accepted until February 15th, 2016. The regional judges will review the personal success of nominees and their education, community service, and participation in industry and business associations as well as other accolades and awards. Entries are open to Vancouver Island residents involved in the private, public and non-profit sectors who meet other eligibility requirements (see Rules & Regulations). Entries must be submitted by midnight, February 15th, 2016.

Click Here to Download Form

1. Nomination: Provide us a quick overview of the candidate and let us know who is nominating them. Don’t forget to include the names of supporters of this nomination and their contact information.

2. Summary of Achievements: Summarize the candidate’s achievements and explain why you are nominating them. In some cases, the nominee’s resume may provide sufficient explanation.

3. Letters of Reference may be attached to the nomination to substantiate the broad community support for the nominee.

c/o 3603 Ross Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2S3


BC Local News: Top 20 under age 40 names sought

By | News

If you know someone you think is outstanding in business or community work, then the Top 20 Under 40 wants to hear from you.

Officials from the Top 20 Under 40 are canvassing across Vancouver Island for nominations for the initiative. Roger McKinnon made a presentation on behalf of the organization to Port Alberni city council at their Tuesday meeting.

The Top 20 Under 40 is aimed at recognizing the achievements and work of young professionals under the age of 40.

We also want to showcase young talent to the business community and to show that these young professionals are going to be our future, McKinnon said.

The accomplishments of individuals over age 50 are most often lauded, but people under age 40 put in work of their own leading up to then, McKinnon said.

Nominations for the Top 20 Under 40 Awards aren’t just based on demonstrated excellence in business Judgment, leadership and contributions to communities on a local and regional level are considered.

Nominations can be made at the organization’s website: and are being accepted until Dec. 15.

Regional judges, one of whom is Port Alberni’s Ken McRae, will whittle the list of nominees down to 100. Finalist judges will chose the top 20. The names will be announced in either February or March.

The initiative is an inaugural one. There was a Top 40 under 40 in 2006 but a majority of the winners came from Victoria. McKinnon’s late son, who was from Nanaimo, was among them.

McKinnon, 57, originally hails from Port Alberni. He now makes his home there, where he is successful in real estate.

Find this article at:

Top 20 Winners

By | News

Congratulations to the Top 20 Under 40 – 2014 winners! Well done everyone.
Abel O’Brennan[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Anna Jones[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Chad Conrad[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Chantal Stefan[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Cody Dreger[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Cori McCaw[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Daniel Martinez[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Dr. Rebecca Morley[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Edwin Betinol[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Gord Groves[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Jameel Sayani[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Jennifer Millbank[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Jessica Cruise[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Julie Broad[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Kashi Tanaka[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Mark deFrias[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Professor Jeremy Wulff[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Raphael van Lierop[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Rasool Rayani[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Shawn Steele[/one_fifth_last]

Conrad, McCaw win Top 20 Under 40 honours

By | News
Mr. Mikes-Duncan owner Chad Conrad of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts is among the Island’s Top 20 Under 40.
Cori McCaw of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts is among the Island’s Top 20 Under 40.

Two of Vancouver Island brightest business stars call the Cowichan Valley home.

Mr. Mikes-Duncan owner Chad Conrad and Cori McCaw of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts were honoured last week at the Top 20 Under 40 Business & Community Achievement Awards.

“I’m really blown away with this one,” Conrad said. “Frankly I would not have even been considered for this award if it weren’t for my co-workers past and present. Since all of them are under 40 they too won this award with me and I am honored to share this with all of them.”

It was the second year in a row McCaw was a finalist.

“It is a big deal. It’s certainly a nice feather in my cap for sure,” she said. “Last year I didn’t win so I was hopeful to win this year but wasn’t expecting to.”

The second annual gala, recognizing the movers and shakers of the Islands’ business community under the age of 40, was held Feb. 15 at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay.

“Chad runs the No. 1 Mr. Mikes in the province. He’s got a really impressive resume,” said Roger McKinnon, chair and part of the selection committee. “Cori does a lot for charity, and these are business and community awards. It’s about what they’ve done for the community lately.”

A sold-out event, 315 people jammed into the banquet room to hear keynote speaker, provincial education minister, Don McRae.

“We had lots of mayors and dignitaries there. It was a huge black tie event,” McKinnon said, adding that more than 125 nominations were made and regional judges set to work paring down the list to 100. From there executive judges selected the winners. “It’s pretty impressive to be able to win,” McKinnon said.

Conrad felt the same. “It’s very humbling to be recognized in a class like this,” he said. “It’s an amazing group of individuals that accomplish so much in terms of business and community achievement so I was certainly in very good company,” McCaw added.

© Cowichan Valley Citizen

Business achievement awards honour locals

By | News

Anna Jones is proud of the newest trophy on her desk.

The senior associate with Nanaimo’s Church Pickard Chartered Accountants is one of the six winners from Nanaimo at Vancouver Island’s second annual Top 20 Under 40 Business & Community Achievement Awards that was held last week.

The annual black-tie gala dinner and awards presentation recognizes the Island’s best and brightest business and community leaders under the age of 40. The first annual Top 20 Under 40 event last year was developed as a result of all the positive contributions being made in business across Vancouver Island’s communities.

Jones, 34, is also the youngest member of the Daybreak Rotary Club. She said she was nominated for an award at last year’s inaugural ceremony, but failed to take one of the 20 top prizes.

“I was both shocked and surprised when they called my name out, and I felt it was a great honour,” Jones said Tuesday.

“I consider it a great achievement and I’m looking forward to networking with the alumni of the BCAA.”

There were more than 125 nominations for this year’s awards which were whittled down to 100 by the event’s regional judges and the executive judges decided on the top 20.

There are no established categories for the awards. The other winners from Nanaimo include Jennifer Millbank, a partner with the Ramsay Lampman Rhodes law firm, real estate investor, entrepreneur and author Julie Broad, wealth manager Daniel Martinez, Simon Holt Restaurant co-owner and realtor Cody Dreger and Jameel Sayani, senior manager of aboriginal services at MNP.

Event spokeswoman Tannis Wengel said this year saw a record number of nominations and tickets for the award ceremony were sold out.

“We’re hoping for an even more successful event next year,” she said. 250-729-4234

© Nanaimo Daily News