Jennie Yang was a marketing and communications’ expert in the corporate sector for a decade. In early 2011 when she and her partner Shu arrived in Wellington from Malaysia, he landed an IT position and Jennie decided on a self-organised sabbatical year.
‘I was tired, burned out. I needed to follow a more organic, sustainable path.’ Change of pace and a desire to ‘follow my heart’ led her to a volunteer role with Volunteer Wellington. She helped to promote an event held on Valentine’s Day last year, celebrating the 10th anniversary of 2001, International Year of Volunteers. She scored pastries from Simply Paris, coffee from Caffe L’Affare and was part of the team which brought in the celebratory crowd – mainly community organisations from around Wellington.
Interviewing volunteer seekers with Volunteer Wellington followed this flurry of promotional activity; and later in the year she led a social media workshop for community groups. Jennie Yang was quickly beginning to understand the local voluntary sector and the significance of volunteers in New Zealand.
These volunteering experiences have ‘organically’ equipped Jennie perfectly for the part-time position she took on at the beginning of 2012 with Volunteer Wellington – Member Capacity Project Manager. As she says when she introduces herself to the many members she has already met: ‘I am here to make sure you are happier in your role as a leader or co-ordinator of volunteers. I want to talk about your challenges, find out how Volunteer Wellington’s services can support you better, understand the bigger picture of your organisation.’
This could range from the creation of new voluntary roles with more understanding of the depth and breadth of volunteer seeker (which includes corporate employees) and tapping into this resource; or discussion and training suggestions pertaining to governance, technology, social media.
As Jennie moves around the territory talking both to individuals as well as participating in groups, it’s the synergies between organisations which has impressed her. People are sitting on this knowledge – they want to share it and work collaboratively. This is where I can do more connecting, more bringing together.’
With her heart now ensconced in the community sector this dynamic young woman who speaks five languages (Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, English – with learning Maori on her agenda) is set on being part of a movement where building relationships which result in social inclusion and real development within communities, becomes the tangible result of her work.
Jennie is available at Volunteer Wellington all day Mondays and Wednesdays. Ring her on 499 4570 to talk about your challenges, ideas, plans for the future, volunteer teams.