Volunteering to keep learning from each other

Yves Beauchamp, Vice Principal (Administration and Finance), talks about the importance of volunteerism

Yves Beauchamp, Vice Principal (Administration and Finance), has sat on more than twenty boards since the beginning of his career as an engineer. This is how he explains his passion for volunteering: “When you volunteer your time, you help, you learn, you give back to your community and you always get something back yourself.”

As the years have gone by, he has racked up opportunities to join the board of institutions in all areas, like Collège Ahuntsic, Sainte-Justine hospital, industrial organizations, and centres of research excellence – to mention but a few. Boards require quite a bit of your time and energy; you have to attend meetings, listen, prepare, identify possible solutions and act on the best among them. But as Beauchamp says, “It’s all worth it. Not a meeting goes by when you don’t build a connection.”

“When you volunteer your time, you help, you learn, you give back to your community and you always get something back yourself,” says Yves Beauchamp

Beauchamp looks back on the many experiences he has had and finds that connection and communication are always key. One of the highlights for him has been his work with the Laval Cosmodome. The Cosmodome has a crucial social mission to bring science to young people, and it can be a challenge to choose the exhibitions while keeping the institution’s bottom line in check. For Beauchamp, sitting on boards is an excellent way to learn about the many different kinds of organizations and missions, and about the many possible governance models. “You walk away with something for yourself, and in return, you give something back. And when people appreciate your contribution, it makes you want to keep going.”

Beauchamp is particularly busy these days, so he has had to cut the number of boards he volunteers for down to three: the Canadian Academy of Engineering, an organization that represents engineers and where, since 2014, he has served as treasurer, secretary, president-elect and president; Inno-centre, an organization that supports emerging businesses and innovation and where he has been a member of the board since 2013; and the renowned Pointe-à-Callière museum of history and archaeology in Montreal, where he has been a member of the board of trustees and president of the capital investment committee since 2010. These three positions span a great length of time and expose Yves to a wide range of experiences.

What does Beauchamp have to say to people who want to volunteer but might not be ready to take the plunge?

Without hesitation, he says, “Volunteering helps you build relationships. You’ll always have conversations that will bring you something of value as a person. You have to seize every opportunity. It’s a way to step out of your own routine and gain a much broader vision of what is happening out there. You support the people in these organizations, and you are there to help them. It’s also a great reminder that you are part of a larger community!”