Interview with PCCL'S Secretary

Tamie Perryment will be joining the executive board for the first time this year as Parkdale Cromdale’s Secretary, although she has been involved with the general board for 3 years. Tamie has lived in the community for 25 years and is well versed in the process of non-for-profits, having worked for a non-for-profit full time for many years. Recently Tamie stopped working full time and is making more room for the things she loves, like gardening and giving back to her community. Take a look at our interview with her to learn more: 

Bryce: How did you first become involved with the league?
Tamie: I got involved with the garden club through Kevin and Steven. They invited me to a board meeting, which I went to, and then I got elected to the board. It was like; “That was pretty quick!” I found it quite fascinating because everyone got nominated and people would just say yes or no. So that’s how I got involved. 
I can’t even begin to name how important that is to me and the events that I’ve gone to or invited others too - It just expands your community.
Tia: What do you value most about the league?
TP: For me, it’s the people and the community. I have lived in the area since 1993 and I remember going to the community league for a meeting and I must have had a child with me. When I went I remember the meeting was in the main room and they were smoking. It was a while ago and that didn’t make it very engaging. It didn’t seem very welcome at the time and I didn’t have time to be involved given I was working in a non-for-profit, raising children, and trying to finish my education. When I stopped working full time, I felt it was important to give something back. There are things I like to do like gardening (having an Organic Master Gardener Certificate - OMG) but I have also had a history in the not-for-profit sector as an executive director, so I felt it was important to give back to the board using these skills. As I’ve gotten to know more people on the board, that’s the part that engages me. I can’t even begin to name how important that is to me and the events that I’ve gone to or invited others too - It just expands your community. It’s nice to know more people in your community. So that’s the part that I really enjoy. 
T: What has changed your life the most (recently)?
TP: What has changed my life the most is that since I left my full-time work I have decided to be involved in the things that I like to do. So the garden club and the community league, they enable me to do those things. It’s resisting going back to full time that has changed my life because it allows me to do the things that I love with the people I like, rather than be isolated from my community at work. That’s what has changed my life; making the commitment to continue to do this. Your life (from my perspective) is different once you start to have more balance. I couldn’t do what I do with the community league if I worked and that’s why I’m glad I did this. Being able to have that time to work on my relationships with people in my community really makes a difference. I’m more thankful for the balance in my life and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it, because that balance takes effort in itself.
B: What is your role as secretary?
TP: Well apparently they take the minutes! *Laughter*
T: That’s definitely a part of it!
TP: Absolutely. Plus, it’s true that I’m a detail oriented person and I like to have the minutes reflect what’s genuinely happened in the meeting. I also have thoughts and opinions about that, which is why I was probably a good fit for the job because I try to ensure all those details are there. I think minutes help to create a historical memory which is important and can help us to see where we came from. I see that as my role - Trying to do that and being open to hearing criticism about it as well. I think the board has been working on how to communicate better with each other and it brings up the question of trust, transparency, and who's decision is whoms? If I am able to ensure accurate minutes, then we can discuss those differences that seem to divide us at times. Ultimately, all decisions are the board's and the executive committee (and my role as secretary) is to ensure the board has the information to make those decisions and to be fully informed in doing so. Other than taking the minutes, there are other technical things to do, but it’s work to take the minutes alone. You have to keep everything in mind while writing and be prepared for changes.
T: What is your favorite flower?
TP: How could I pick? *Laughter* I really like smells, so some flowers like Freesias have this gorgeous smell. I have to admit that Hydrangeas are also beautiful, there’s no question. Then there are Irises - You know what? To me, my favorite flower is the one that fits in that spot, so I’d have a hard time picking one. I also love forget-me-nots because they’re a wildflower and just grow on their own wherever, they’re this gorgeous blue maze. Though, I suppose my favorite flower, in the end, is the one that blooms! It’s a hard question to answer.
We need to be unafraid of new things, but we also have to work together to get there in small, manageable steps.
B: What do you wish to achieve over the next year as secretary?
TP: I think one of the things that are important to me is for people to have the minutes early. That way they’re able to comment and say what they need to say. I also aim to give information for them to learn a little bit more. I’m the secretary, but I also think I have a good understanding of the bylaws, Robert’s Rule of Order, and finances, which mean I bring these skills with me to help in those areas. My job as secretary is to make sure people have everything in a timely manner. I’d also love to see the board learn more about the financial statements and be able to understand them. They should feel comfortable asking questions. So that would also be helpful.
I believe it’s important that when you’re a leader, you model the behavior you want. As executive members, although we’re all different, it’s essential that we work together to provide appropriate leadership to the board and the members. That’s one of the things I’d also like to see accomplished. There are foundational aspects that you need for an organization and without them, we can’t properly operate or move forward: we need good bylaws, policies, and communication otherwise we can’t do visionary things. I’m grateful for people like Martin, Richard, Sebastian and others who have helped build this foundation and now we need to be unafraid to work towards new things. It’s like the front garden; we left two bushes, that’s it! We need to be unafraid of new things, but we also have to work together to get there in small, manageable steps. I’m going to go back to the front garden again, in that we had steps. We can’t get to the end product without those necessary steps. It’s a good analogy about working together.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Tamie and want to extend our gratitude to her for taking the time to answer our questions for this interview and letting us into her home.