With 11 years of experience working in non-profit, Laurie Schertzer feels she has something to offer the sector. Currently, she is doing so, building a relatively new role from the ground up in her work with the most grassroots organization on her resume to date: the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund (CMTTF).

Prior to joining the Trust Fund, Laurie’s nonprofit experience has included project management and marketing roles in organizations such as:

  • the Tetra Society (recruits skilled volunteer engineers and technicians to create assistive devices for people with disabilities);
  • the Canadian Diabetes Association; and,
  • the Canadian Health Network (a former government agency with teams housed within nonprofit affiliate organizations).

Prior to her time in non-profit, Laurie was in corporate sales and marketing for 12 years.

Laurie’s current role as the Director of Communications at the Trust Fund allows her to put her expertise to use while broadening her skill set even further. Since starting at the Trust Fund in October 2011, Laurie has observed two critical ingredients for success.

“In such a small, grassroots organization, you have to have a ‘get things done’ attitude, and you have to be willing to wear many different hats. These things are expected of you in order to grow an organization and increase its chances for success,” explains Laurie. For example, though she is the organization’s communications director, Laurie is heavily involved in fund development, event planning and more.

How does she manage? With help from her peers. Laurie has drawn upon the expertise of volunteers and former colleagues within the nonprofit sector when the ‘other hats’ creep in.

“Strong relationships will help you get projects done because there is just not enough time in the day. If you have strong partnership skills, you will have more success in a role like this than someone with just business acumen would,” says Laurie.

Laurie says the most challenging aspect of her role is also her favorite aspect: “We are a small team reaching out to an entire country for a national charity. We count on the people in the many communities we touch to act as ambassadors for us and spread the word about music therapy. And at the same time we have to be aware of what is going on – everywhere! It is a challenge.”

Laurie is excited, however, to have already achieved success and made progress on all of the priorities she identified upon her arrival in October 2011. Among Laurie’s accomplishments is a rebranding exercise which updated the organizations print collateral, adding bilingual materials, a monthly benefit concert in Toronto, help with building the Trust Fund’s strategic plan and a new website in the works.  Laurie explains, “The work, the team, the nature and scope of the organization make it all enjoyable.”

Learn more about the work of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund at musictherapytrust.ca or on Facebook.

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira