Roland Selvanayagam’s involvement with the board of Volunteer West was almost accidental.
“I had met with the former general manager of Volunteer West about some volunteer opportunities with another not for profit. Understanding my background in the corporate sector, she invited me to consider joining the board of Volunteer West,” recalls Roland.
After meeting with the former president and the rest of the board, Roland joined the Volunteer West board and took on the position of treasurer initially, before stepping up to the President’s role where he has served for over a year now.
Volunteerism has always played a big part in Roland’s life. Growing up in Malaysia, both his parents were very involved in their communities and set an early example of volunteerism for Roland.
“My father was a teacher and had students who did not have proper homes or surroundings to support their studies, so on various occasions he would offer them a place in our home to help them out. My mother on the other hand was active in the Girl Guides movement as the Commissioner of one of the states. Later she was also an active volunteer at a centre for disabled children,” Roland explains.
Roland’s first stint in volunteering came as a hockey coach with a local school, in exchange for using the field for his hockey team’s training. Impressed by his commitment, the principal of the school then offered him his first job as a temporary teacher at just 19.
Since then, Roland has actively been involved in voluntary work in a number of areas including professional accountant bodies, school PTAs, sports associations and most recently with Volunteer West.
Reflecting on his role with Volunteer West, Roland shares that “Volunteer West is in a state of change and regeneration with a newly appointed CEO and a new team with interesting skills and experience.”
“I am excited about where Volunteer West is heading, and we hope to move into a larger office space that is more conducive for staff to work in. We have a great blend of new and more experienced board members and this infusion offers the promise of added momentum to our work. I’d like to see Volunteer West as an employer where our staff find fulfillment and pride in their work, an organisation respected and trusted by the community and held in high regard by the local councils that we work with,” says a passionate Roland.