Below is a profile on Kerrisdale Community Centre Society Board and community centre member Robert Lockhart. It is one segment of a special profile series on our community centre patrons and our volunteer Board Members.
Robert Lockhart has been involved with the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) – as President of the Board and, now, as a Board Member – for more than seven years. Before volunteering on the Board, he also brought his children to the centre. In fact, he credits the culture and programs of the community centre with influencing one of his (now adult) daughters in following a career in the creative arts. Robert also uses the facility for fitness and socializing.
A business owner and former environmental consultant, now retired, Robert knows what it takes to create a strong, balanced foundation and to ensure that the “chemistry” is working. He says that at Kerrisdale Community Centre, it is all working together very well – and has been for years.
Members of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society’s Board of Directors are volunteers. In addition to being on the Board of Directors, each member is required to sit on at least two committees. They commit about four or five hours a week to this role, but in fact – depending on which committee they sit on – it may be more. Robert has worked on the executive, finance, programming, rentals, and pool and arena committees. It takes a great deal of work to help run the centre and the society.
It takes a special kind of person to step into a volunteer leadership role, especially one that can be as demanding as that of a board member of a community centre association. These volunteers are often the unsung heroes, working away from the spotlight, making sure that the vision for the centre is being brought to life through the operational elements. While it can be a tiring task, Robert says the work, to him, is incredibly rewarding. He explained: “In my consulting career, I worked for large national corporations, institutions and governments – now, I enjoy bringing my problem-solving skills, operational expertise and leadership experience to my role on the Board.”
A key element that Robert believes is often not fully appreciated by some who don’t truly understand how a community centre and its society or association works is that the board members often bring a broad range of experience and business skills to their work on the board. He explained: “Our volunteer Board has incredibly smart people who have chosen to actively engage in supporting our community.” He added: “The Kerrisdale Board has people who are well-educated, engaged and – while some of us might be retired – we bring decades of professional experience and career success to our work here. We also have some younger Board Members who are already making their mark in the business world and who want to bring a new, fresh perspective to our community centre. It is an exciting time for our community centre. As a result, we are busier than ever.”
What Robert Wants the Park Board to Know
“I wish the Park Board knew about our successes and our ability to govern. If they did – if they had bothered to find out about us – they wouldn’t be trying to ‘fix’ what isn’t broken. I wish the Park Board was wise enough to listen to the people who have been running a successful community centre for decades, and about what needs to be in the contract so that it is a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that works for us and them – not just for them.”