There have been times when Rene Cavanagh felt her job was “kinda like riding a surfboard.”
“The job moves with whatever the focus is on at the District level. It moves with the waves,” she says of her 11 years as office manager for our District.
“Some years, I have worked diligently with special events and projects for governors. Other years, I have worked more internally, supporting whatever the club people need. It depends on where the push is.”
Rene has found that to be part of the appeal of the position, which she will be leaving on December 6 to become the community and volunteer engagement co-ordinator with Habitat for Humanity.
“One of the most interesting parts of the job is getting to know each of these great leaders that I have worked with—all the governors I have worked with—as well as I do, and hearing about their passions and hearing where they want things to go and being able to support them. That’s part of the excitement of the job,” she says.
“I like the new [Rotary] year. I like the change. I like meeting the new governor and supporting them.”
During her tenure at the District office, she has gotten to know 13 District Governors, from David Taylor (RC of Camrose) to Tracey Vavrek (RC of Grande Prairie After Five).
“I started in April 2008. David was governor at that time,” Rene says. “During my first full year, the governor was Ross Tyson (RC of Edmonton Northeast).”
Current DG Tracey says that she has been surprised by all that is part of the office manager’s role.
“I didn’t understand the level of responsibility associated with this position until I began to work with Rene,” Tracey says.
“I appreciate Rene’s dedication and her capacity to do what needs to be done to keep the operation of the District office running smoothly,” she says. “I see where she has built the office management as the District has grown.”
During Rene’s tenure, the position of office manager has expanded. Initially, it was a part-time position, which for a time was combined with an administrative support position with the Rotary Club of Edmonton, making the combined duties the equivalent of a full-time job.
“I did that for a few years. Then it was determined that I wasn’t able to do all the work required, so the District took me on full time,” Rene says.
As office manager, Rene has been part of two office moves.
“When I started, the office was on Stony Plain Road. Then we moved, two years later, to the Boys and Girls Club and then we just moved to the Orange Hub last year,” she says.
Now that her time as the District’s office manager is winding up, Rene is looking forward to her new job with Habitat of Humanity.
“I feel that being the community and volunteer engagement co-ordinator is something I will really be able to feel so comfortable doing—engaging and working with communities to help with the Habitat for Humanity causes,” she says.
“It just seems to check all the boxes for where my interests lie and there will be a lot of interaction with people and working on a team, which will be great for me.”
Meeting and working with other people is something Rene has enjoyed about her current position.
“That is the part of this job I have enjoyed the most,” she says. “Meeting the Rotarians and making sure they are getting what they need, to do what they want to do.
“The conference is always a highlight, because I get to see the Rotarians that I hear from throughout the year. It’s great to see people face-to-face and make those connections and build those relationships.”
Rene says she hopes to maintain the relationships she developed while working for the District.
“I don’t feel like I’m leaving. I feel that have relationships and connections I will have my whole life. I know I will be connected with Rotary. I’m looking forward to the future with both Rotary and my new position with Habitat for Humanity. I’m looking forward to having all of that in my life.”
With Rene’s pending departure, DG Tracey has reached out to two members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Northeast to lead the recruitment process to find a new office manager.
“Edith Martin and Brenda Tyson have been meeting with Rene to learn about the responsibilities of the job and what skills are needed,” Tracey says.
A job posting is available online.