When Randi Gill began her career in the nonprofit sector, she wanted two things: to be challenged and to make an impact. Nine years later, Randi has definitely achieved both goals.

Currently the Communications Manager, Western Canada at the Canadian Diabetes Association, Randi has held several progressive marketing and communications roles within the organization since 2004. Today, Randi works closely with the Association’s Western Canada Team and executive leadership across Canada, providing strategic communications including public and media relations, issue and crisis management, media planning, promoting awareness of the Association and of diabetes-related topics.

“In my various roles, I have worked with every level and department in the organization. Working cross-functionally means that there is always something new happening and I am constantly learning,” explains Randi. “With every project that I take on, I also learn about myself and how I can do things more effectively. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of planning; it is essential to executing anything successfully – even ad hoc and unexpected projects.”

Continuous improvement has been a focus for Randi in her career so far. She makes an effort to continually build her network and upgrade her skills, including completion of a Masters Certificate in Marketing & Communications Management from York University’s Schulich School of Business in 2008.

While completing her business degree and actively volunteering in the community, Randi developed an interest in working in the nonprofit sector. She was drawn to the diabetes cause as it affects millions of Canadians. In fact, in her second year of working with the Association, one of her uncles was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, making her professional successes all the more meaningful.

“There is now a greater awareness of diabetes in the marketplace. We hear this from people with diabetes whose friends and family members have a better understanding of what they are going through,” says Randi. “And, we’ve seen progress in diabetes funding and improved access to diabetes treatment and supplies across the country. My role has been integral to the campaigns behind these changes, so I’m extremely proud of this success.”

Randi has advice for those considering a career in nonprofit communications: do your homework. She dismisses the perception that working in nonprofit is less intense than in the corporate sector. On the contrary, she argues: “Working in nonprofit is very intense. We lead projects from beginning to end. We are expected to meet the same demands, with fewer resources which makes this sector ideal for a ‘go-getter’ wanting to expand his or her skill set.”

“There are many nonprofits out there and it’s important to do your research. Talk to people in the industry. Attend charitable events. Determine if you can really see yourself working in the sector and whether you truly see a fit between your values and any given organization.”

Connect with Randi on Twitter or Linked In.

Learn more about the work of the Canadian Diabetes Association, at www.diabetes.ca.

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