Program validates grad's work experience

Charla Huber may be the communications director of the largest Indigenous affordable housing provider in B.C., but the true depth of her role goes far beyond her job title. She’s now being recognized for the complexities of her work and for her expertise, thanks to earning SFU’s Non-Profit Management Certificate.  

Of Chipewyan and Inuit ancestry, Charla was adopted at birth during the Sixties Scoop, a period when Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their homes and placed with non-Indigenous families. 

Her longing to learn more about her identity and connect with her roots led her to work with Ma’kola Housing Society, a non-profit organization that provides safe and affordable housing for Indigenous communities. 

“Because of my adoption I don’t know exactly where I’m from, but I’ve had the opportunity to work with Chiefs and Elders from nations across B.C., and that’s been a beautiful experience,” she reflects.

Like many non-profit professionals, Charla found herself involved in many facets of the organization outside her job description. 

“People would look at my job title and think that communications work was all I did, but I’m also engaging with Indigenous communities, doing government and policy work, and attending all of our finance committee meetings,” she explains. 

Feeling pigeonholed, Charla wanted a way to validate the wealth of experience she’d gained from working in the sector. SFU’s Non-Profit Management Certificate not only brought her that formal recognition, but also the chance to continue building her knowledge and skills.

“There was something I could take away from every course—all of the content was tailored to non-profit organizations,” Charla says.

She was able to take what she learned and put it into practice. For the program’s human resources course, she wrote a paper on recruiting and mentoring Indigenous employees, and her recommendations were ultimately included in her organization’s strategic plan.

The certificate has also helped Charla advance in her career, as she will soon begin a new role as the executive director of a different non-profit. She’s looking forward to new experiences in the field she’s passionate about. 

“My goal was to move upwards in my career and having a well-rounded education in non-profit management helped me do just that.”

By Bernice Puzon