Inspirational quotes, colourful drawings and alumni stories cover the walls in the Telefund calling centre.
In one corner, a “Wall of Fame” bulletin board proudly displays the names of student communicators with the top pledges, number of calls and dollars raised for the week. The bright, upbeat environment encourages and motivates student callers the moment they come through the door.
For Leanne Scott, this room holds a lot of memories. In April she completed the final requirements for her bachelor of arts degree and now, after three years, she is saying farewell to her job as team lead with the Telefund program, housed in Alumni Affairs and Development on Lambe’s Lane.
The Telefund, Memorial University’s annual calling program, employs approximately 30 students each semester. Working 15 hours a week, they spend a combined total of more than 4,000 hours on the phone each year connecting with alumni, providing updates on what’s happening at Memorial and seeking support for university priorities.
When Ms. Scott first applied for the position in 2013, she had no idea what impact her part-time job would have on her future plans. Her original motivation was simple: good hours and a pay cheque to offset the expenses that come with being a student.
She quickly discovered the job meant so much more.
“It’s so rewarding. I leave feeling better than when I arrived,” said Ms. Scott. “I could show up after an awful day or really tired from school but I always leave feeling great. The people I work with are awesome, the alumni I get to talk to are amazing and what we’re doing is incredible. It touches so many people’s lives.”
Ms. Scott understands the importance of the Telefund’s work for students because she’s experienced it first hand. Over the course of her undergraduate degree, Ms. Scott has received numerous scholarships and bursaries.
“I’ve been really fortunate to receive enough scholarships to significantly offset the cost of tuition and books.”
Getting to work with donors and experience their kindness has made Ms. Scott even more grateful for the support.
“To be able to speak with people directly and understand their generosity, it made the scholarships I received feel a little less anonymous,” she said. “You don’t always get the opportunity to meet the people behind your scholarship, but my experiences with the Telefund have given me a personal perspective on giving and the generosity that goes with it.”
According to her supervisor, Robert Badcock, Telefund co-ordinator, Annual Fund, Leanne is a natural in the role.
“She always hits the ground running,” said Mr. Badcock. “Leanne is passionate about fundraising for student support and she’s a strong leader. She’s a champion for the value of philanthropy inside and outside our office.”
Ms. Scott will soon begin her next chapter. She’s been accepted to the master of philanthropy and non-profit leadership program at Carleton University and is set to begin her studies later this summer. She credits the Telefund for helping her discover a career she had never even considered. This experience, along with witnessing the fundraising work of Memorial University’s development officers, inspired her to seek out formal education in the field.
When it comes to her idea of success, Ms. Scott focuses on the importance of finding your passion.
“I think success means going to work every day and liking it,” she says. “And that’s how I feel about my job with the Telefund. I don’t want to lose that.”