John Howard Society

I am deeply proud of my involvement at the John Howard Society of Brandon.
I joined the volunteer board of directors of the John Howard Society of Brandon (JHSB) in 2016 and became the President in 2018.
Every member of the board, every staff member and every volunteer at JHSB has their own description of what we do and why we do it based on their perspective and personal goals.
My focus has always been to repair the harm caused by crime and create a safer, healthier community.
But my job as President isn’t about pushing just my priorites. As a leader, my job is to make sure everyone contributing to our combined success gets some of their priorities met, to create a stable and healthy organization that can weather the bumps and bruises we know the future holds without knowing exactly what they will be and to represent the organization’s values in my everyday actions.
Most of the success we’ve enjoyed over the years can and should be attributed to our staff and volunteers. They provide the ideas, the labour and the passion that fuels us.

We have:
Developed new, in house programming for building healthy relationships (anti-domestic violence programming).
Created the Ready4Release program that is administered in the Brandon Correctional Centre in advance of an inmate’s release to maximize their opportunity to successfully reintegrate.
Developed the Crossroads program. An 8 session, post release program focused on skills like budgeting, anger management and harm reduction to offer participants the best chance at being successful in life.
Provide word class Restorative Justice Mediation in Westman and the Parkland regions for MB Justice.
Created the Men’s Resource Centre, a safe and supportive place for men to find constructive activities that promote healthy social interactions and fellowship.
Created Everyone Eats as a food security program in response to the sudden and dramatic changes caused by Covid-19 that effected people’s access to healthy meals.
Created Brandon’s Food Rescue Grocery store. A permanent and sustainable program to provide heavily discounted food and household products to the people of Brandon with a unique model that is cash flow positive and saves perfectly good food from being destroyed just because it got stuck in the supply chain.
And we have two more projects that should come to fruition in the coming months that I’m not ready to discuss at the moment.
There are two contributions I have made that I will lay claim to:
1: Financial Sustainability:
We are a not-for-profit, we do what we do because it’s best for our community and not to line our pockets but that does not mean we should plan to be broke. Our budget includes a plan to have retained earnings and I will not apologize for that. Often not-for-profits work on such shoe string budgets that they can’t support any unforeseen costs or allow for long term planning. It’s very common for not-for-profits to feel shame if they don’t spend every cent they have, every year, in pursuit of their mission statement. Our mission is important but the timeline to accomplish it isn’t short term. Our budgets need to allow for long term plans and stability.
2: It is better to try and fail than to never try at all:
In my time at JHSB we have tried several things that were new and at first glance, a risk. But we didn’t just run into these projects blindly and hope they would work out. We calculated the risks, we inventoried our capacities, we brought in partners when we didn’t have all the skills required, we drew red lines that we knew we couldn’t cross and if we got close to them we had to re-evaluate in advance to protect the greater organization but most importantly we accepted that all of our plans would need real time adjustments because nothing is perfect on its first draft.
From the outside we appeared to be taking risks. From this inside we were managing our growth and increasing our capabilities one project at a time.
There is so much success here to be proud of and I am very grateful to be a part of this team.
Thank you Ross and thank you to everyone else that has delivered these wins to our community.
To learn more about JHSB and what we do visit:
A common misconception is that Ross and I have worked well together because we are good friends. That’s not how it happened. We didn’t know each other before he came to be the Executive Director at JHSB and I played no role in his selection for the job. We became great friends because we learned to work together.
I think about that a lot.