As part of our ASPA Newsletter we want to introduce you to the volunteers who make up the Executive Committee. Throughout the year the communications committee will highlight these individuals so that members can learn more about those who represent them. We decided the first highlight would be our longest-serving member of the Executive, Paola Chiste, and we asked what drew her to Volunteer for ASPA and what she has learned in the process.
Paola is a Research Officer in the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development and a long time volunteer with ASPA. Paola first started volunteering for ASPA back in 2000. She was fresh out of school and couldn’t resist the offer of free lunches after years of the starving-student mentality. Paola jokes, “I quickly learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch.” With the constitutional change made at the 2015 Annual General Meeting, Paola has now reached her term limit and will step down from the Executive in May. During her tenure on the ASPA Executive she has held a number of positions: Member at Large, Executive Officer, President-Elect, Vice President and ASPA President.
Paola has been an integral part of making ASPA a more efficient organization. Prior to her term as President she watched numerous Presidents before her slowly work to make ASPA more efficient, culminating in the hiring of a Member Services Officer three years ago. Paola participated in creating the Member Services Officer role and responsibilities, using her years of experience to help define a position that would dramatically change the functions of the three Presidents. This change has allowed the Presidents to focus on strategy and the growth of the Association. Though many Presidents have helped make this evolution of ASPA a reality, it was Paola who got to see the bulk of the change during her term as President, as she helped form a new Executive that had a renewed strategic focus and gave each member a clear role and responsibility.
As Paola gets ready to step down we asked her to reflect on what she found to be the most rewarding part of her time with ASPA.
“As I prepare to leave the Executive, I can honestly say I have never seen ASPA work more efficiently. We have a true group of volunteers, each with their own role and responsibility and the Presidents have more time to focus on strategy. I am most proud of the part I played in creating this transformation of our organization.” ~ Paola Chiste