Future Fundraiser: Cassandra Steele
This month, Parley spoke with Cassandra Steele, the 2016 recipient of the Gordon L. Goldie Memorial Scholarship. Established in memory of The Goldie Company’s founder, this scholarship honours Gordon’s legacy and supports Humber College students who are on their way to creating meaningful change as fundraising professionals.
You received the Gordon L. Goldie Scholarship last June. Belated congratulations! What brought you to Humber College for the Fundraising Management program?
During my undergraduate degree, I volunteered for Frontier College as a tutor, working in classroom support alongside a teacher. This usually involved supporting students with their individual learning plans, which means keeping them focused on their work and helping with questions. I learned that illiteracy is connected to every part of our society. For instance, if you’re not fully literate, you can’t understand the news, and you’re less likely to vote.
I thought volunteering at Frontier College would help me understand how to work with kids, but it also helped me refocus my goals. I decided not to be a teacher, instead combining my passion for education with activism and pursuing a degree in political science.
Later on, I worked at Frontier College as an intern. In this position I got to know how the charity worked, where the money goes, and where it comes from. This work motivated me to look for opportunities in the non-profit sector. Originally, I had hoped to work in volunteer management. At this point, I found the Humber College program and it seemed like a good opportunity.
What were you doing before you arrived at Humber College?
Completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto's St. George Campus. I have a Major in Political Science, as well as two Minors: one in French as a second language and one in History. When I started my undergrad with dreams of being a teacher, I wanted to focus on French and French translation. I needed one more credit and decided to take a Political Science course with my best friend. I loved it!
The Humber program requires that students complete an internship. Where did you do yours?
I completed an internship with the annual and leadership giving team at the University of Toronto. I’m currently still working on an exciting new program that helps link students with alumni to learn more about making gifts and donating time to the university.
How has the Humber program helped advance your career to this stage?
Without the program, I don’t think I’d have my current job. It helped me learn a lot about fundraising, including what motivates people to give. It’s a lot more complicated than simply asking people for money! Also, in addition to gaining some great friends, I have a solid network, which is a huge benefit.
What’s next for you, Cassandra? What’s your dream job?
I definitely want to stay in fundraising. My primary passion is education; it can go a long way to fixing a lot of challenges in the world. I’m also passionate about environmental and human health, so ultimately I’d like a job that allows me to tackle these issues, continue to develop my skills, and have an impact on people’s lives.