We spoke recently with Marlene Mulligan, an Advisory Committee member for the Nonprofit Management Extension Certificate.
Q: Tell us a little about your background and your role at Mount Royal.
A: I’m on the Advisory Committee for Continuing Education’s Nonprofit Management Extension Certificate. I work as Director of Development at Propellus. I’ve been with that organization for three years, since Volunteer Calgary and Central Point for Nonprofit Management came together. I’ve been with them through the acquisition and creation of Propellus, which exists to strengthen charities and nonprofits in Calgary, and before too long, across Alberta. Before that I did corporate community investment for Chevron. I represented their national portfolio from Alberta to Newfoundland.
Q: In your role on the Advisory Committee, what is your passion?
A: I get really excited about being involved in solving problems that are systemic or affecting a large part of our community. With the Nonprofit Advisory Committee, it’s about having conversations to ask: What are the major challenges that the sector is facing? What are the biggest problems that not-for-profit organizations are grappling with? And then, what are we doing about it? In an economic downturn the pressure on nonprofits can intensify as the demand for services increases while support from the private and public sectors decreases.
It’s about what the community’s needs are — what’s already happening and what else could be happening. It’s about exploring new solutions that all nonprofit organizations can benefit from. Those solutions are reflected in our instruction.
Q: Why is MRU a great place for this kind of learning?
A: Thinking forward, there’s a really interesting opportunity for the Continuing Education program in this area because of a couple of assets MRU has. One is the Bachelor of Business Administration – Social Innovation and Nonprofit Minor through the Bissett School of Business and the other is the Institute for Community Prosperity, which connects learning, research and change leadership to build community and strengthen the common good.
There’s some crossover between those two areas in terms of leading social entrepreneurship and social innovation. It’s great how they have modified the Business Administration degree to include components of nonprofit organizations, so they are developing future leaders and managers for any type of organization.
There is already transferability for some of the Continuing Education courses into the degree program. And there’s also a new Community Investment Extension Certificate launching this fall in partnership with the Institute for Community Prosperity.
I think that very naturally the Continuing Education programs will benefit from new curriculum development and new ideas and research that happens at these other points in the organization, so I think that’s a real strength for this program. It strengthens how Mount Royal can serve the nonprofit sector not in Calgary but across Canada.
— photo by Krystal Hurt