How Volunteering Leads to Workplace Success

How Volunteering Leads to Workplace Success

By: Cody Chau
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Have you ever asked yourself these questions – Why should I volunteer? Is stepping out of my comfort zone really going to benefit me? Why waste my time going to this event when I can be doing something else (hanging with friends, playing games, sleeping in…)? If you have, then you are on the right page! Here are some of my experiences that taught me how being involved can help set me up for success in the workplace. Being involved is not only fun because you can do something you like, but you can also meet and connect with new people, which can lead to long-lasting friendships as well as new experiences along the way.

During my recent co-op term at SFU Career and Volunteer Services, I was busy coordinating two large-scale career nights that turned out to be a great success, uniting 12 guest speakers and attracting well over 100 students. Evaluations were strong, and I enjoyed the opportunity to plan and organize these big events. Furthermore, I had the pleasure of volunteering for the United Way Bake Sale, in which all the donated items were sold out to ultimately raise over $600 for community events.


Participating in my community and creating opportunities for people to come together has always been a theme for me.

 As a K-pop enthusiast, I had a huge active online presence in local K-pop clubs. It was through these clubs that I came across a rare opportunity to volunteer as an event coordinator for Canada’s largest Korean concert promoter, PopGoesTheWorld. In much of 2017 and 2018, I worked closely with media, various concert production teams as well as volunteers and sponsors to coordinate large-scale K-pop tours in Vancouver for groups such as KARD and VIXX. I was able to develop and enhance my organization, design, communication and multitasking skills related to something that I have always loved - music.

In addition to K-pop, I also loved participating in group events and activities at school because it gave me the freedom to meet more people and develop new friendships. This led me to volunteer periodically at Cedar Cottage Neighborhood House during my time in high school. Some of the highlights as a volunteer included playing Mahjong with seniors on Friday nights, cooking for community dinners, and participating in special holiday events. Many of the people I volunteered with became good friends and remain so even today.

In addition to the personal satisfaction of contributing to my community, volunteers also got recognized and celebrated, with parties, food, as well as prizes on occasion. Importantly, while volunteering at the CCNH, I learned about a program initiative that led to an internship with the City of Vancouver in the summer of 2012

During my time as an intern, I planned and facilitated workshops geared towards youth about the topic of anti-discrimination. Combined with the skills I had learned in my previous volunteer role, I also learned new skills, such as how to communicate effectively with organizations and key stakeholders and track a weekly budget. 

In summary, being actively involved has really opened doors for me to create many new opportunities. 

If you are ever wondering about getting involved, and how to find opportunities that may help you down the road, all you need is a little confidence and a bit of self-motivation, which you can develop if you take the initiative to be involved. Check out what’s happening at Career and Volunteer Services for some ideas and advice. Joining a club, participating in campus-wide events, or even volunteering for a program related to a passion or hobby can add value to your portfolio. The key is to be active. Believe it or not, the difference can be seen over time!

Beyond the Article 

  • Connect with Cody on LinkedIn
  • Looking for more ways to improve workplace success?  Fiona explains how it all starts with a good foundation
  • Gurleen shares how uncertain opportunities can turn into life-changing experiences. 
Posted on March 22, 2019