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Skills4Good Spotlight: Alex Markos

Skills4Good’s mission is to help companies win the war for talent by matching talent with purpose. In this Spotlight Interview series, we direct a spotlight on selected employees of our corporate partners that we’ve matched with nonprofits across the country. As recognized leaders of their companies, these employees generously give their time, talent and treasure as nonprofit board directors to create significant impacts in the communities in which they live and work.

Skills4Good matched Alex with the board of London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), a nonprofit that ensures that youth voices are heard and integrated into local public policy decisions. It promotes equity in community spaces by facilitating opportunities for youth to co-create solutions and bring perspectives for meaningful impact in London and the surrounding regions.

Shell Canada is a Skills4Good Client. It is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell and one of Canada's largest integrated oil companies. It’s been continuously recognized as one of Canada’s Best Employers and Best Diversity Employers.

Meet Alex Markos



Q: Why did your company engage Skills4Good?

A: Shell partnered with Skills4Good to provide a development opportunity for high potential talent by exposing them to an external leadership experience which helps build their commercial acumen and external focus. The goal of this opportunity is to enable our employees to see the broad challenges and issues of a large corporation, which at times can be a challenge depending on the business/function they come from. Equally important is the opportunity for Shell to help nonprofits, who then in turn provide benefit to those who receive their services.

Q: Why did you participate in the Skills4Good Board Program?

A: Due to my busy personal and professional life, together with my lack of experience in the nonprofit sector, I had never considered serving on a nonprofit board until I was given the opportunity to participate in the Skills4Good board matching program. The Leaders on Board training, which helped prepare me to serve on a nonprofit board, and the support provided by Skills4Good to match me with a suitable nonprofit were instrumental in getting me started on my board service journey. I am driven to serve on a nonprofit board by the incredible sense of purpose it provides through giving back to the community while contributing to positive social change.

Q: Why did you choose to serve on the LYAC board?

A: I chose to serve on the LYAC board because I am passionate about youth engagement and supporting youth to get involved in solving social issues. I have two young children and it is important to me to give back to my community in a way that creates opportunities for young people to thrive and develop into leaders who will continue to drive societal improvement for years to come. I joined the LYAC board at a time when they were looking to add new members with diverse skills and experience and, although I had no previous nonprofit board experience, I was able to add a corporate perspective to a board which was predominately comprised of youth and others who were early in their career.

Q: What is the positive impact of your board service on your personal and professional goals?

A: From a professional standpoint, serving on a nonprofit board provides me with the opportunity to engage in a variety of experiences that help develop innovation and creativity in my thought processes. It also allows me to practice collaboration and influencing skills while expanding and diversifying my professional network. Working with the board also broadens my experience with governance, which is a necessary component of senior corporate leadership roles. From a personal standpoint, serving on the board provides me with the opportunity for tremendous personal growth by exposing me to diverse perspectives and thought, and it does so within the context of contributing to a cause that I am passionate about.

Q: What do you enjoy about serving on the LYAC board?

A: I enjoy serving on the LYAC board for a couple of reasons. First, it is a small nonprofit with a challenging external funding landscape. This drives the board to focus heavily on strategy, direction setting and financial planning, which are all areas of interest for me. Second, there are several new board members (myself included) that started at the same time. This has allowed us to learn about the organization together and grow and develop as a team from our first day on the board.

Q: What invaluable contributions do you bring to the LYAC board?

A: My background in industry has equipped me with strong strategic planning, governance, and leadership skills. These strengths align well with the needs of the LYAC board and compliment the expertise of my fellow board members. Also, my relative inexperience in the nonprofit sector offers a fresh perspective to a board with a wide range of nonprofit experience. Through my learning I tend to ask basic, yet strategic, questions which can often be overlooked or taken for granted as a result of high familiarity with an organization.

Q: Would you recommend other professionals to serve on a nonprofit board?

A: For any professional looking for an experience that will substantially propel their personal and professional growth forward, I definitely recommend serving on a nonprofit board. It is a forum for both practicing and learning skills essential for corporate leadership roles, and it provides an environment rich with opportunities that encourage personal growth and offers an unparalleled chance to achieve a sense of fulfillment by giving back to the community in a meaningful way.

Q: Could you share some insights from your board service at LYAC?

A: Serving on the board has led to two significant insights for me. The first relates to the concept of equity. My work on the LYAC board has deepened my understanding of the concept of equity, and its power for supporting positive community growth. Prior to my time on the board, my definition of equity was linked to my corporate background which offers a slightly different understanding of this concept. Now that I have gained new insight in this area, I can bring a more informed understanding of equity back to my work environment to support growth, productivity, and positive leadership.

The second insight I have gained relates to the relentless struggle that many nonprofit organizations face to secure stable funding. My work on the board has enlightened me to the fact that the same entities whose aims are to improve the health of our communities, protect the most vulnerable amongst us, and create a safe environment conducive to nurturing our children are also those who struggle the most for the financial resources to make these goals a reality. In the corporate world we take for granted having the resources we need to do a job right and serving on a nonprofit board has opened my eyes to the financial struggles inherent in the fight for social justice.

Nonprofit Recognizes Alex’s Invaluable Contributions



Samantha Fox, Board Chair, LYAC said:

“Alex has brought a whole new perspective to the governance of the LYAC that has been incredibly valuable to us over the past year. He has brought the corporate, for-profit business perspective that we had been missing. This has allowed us to explore our funding options, our strategic planning and long-term goals with new ideas.

Previously our board had been comprised of nonprofit sector workers, which was useful for knowledge of the sector, but limiting when attempting to problem solve in new creative directions. This new angle has greatly helped to broaden our discussions on everything from policy creation to funding development. Because of this we are a stronger organization with a clearer direction and plan for the future.

We are very grateful to Skills4Good for their help in finding Alex Markos to join our board of directors. Without their assistance we would not have found someone with his skills and background that has been integral to the continued functioning of our nonprofit.”

Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

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Kind Words from Our Partners

Shell

“I’m excited about this partnership with Skills4Good. In my experience, the most successful teams are built when diverse individuals with unique experiences choose to work together with a single purpose.”

Michael Crothers
President & Country Chair
Shell Canada

Equifax

“Our partnership with Skills4Good is a unique opportunity for us to develop our talented Equifax leaders while making a difference in the communities in which we live and work.”

Lisa Nelson
President
Equifax Canada

Global Impact

“Skills4Good has a unique model for improving corporate employee engagement and Global Impact is excited to be supporting their U.S. expansion.”

Scott Jackson
President & CEO
Global Impact

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“I’m excited about this partnership with Skills4Good. In my experience, the most successful teams are built when diverse individuals with unique experiences choose to work together with a single purpose.”
- - - Michael Crothers, President & Country Chair, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good was recommended to us and so we registered our nonprofit. I like working with them because the process was fast and easy. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit sector colleagues.”
- - - Danny Glenwright, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger Canada

“Our partnership with Skills4Good is a unique opportunity for us to develop our talented Equifax leaders while making a difference in the communities in which we live and work.”
- - - Lisa Nelson, President, Equifax Canada

"I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. Their team was incredibly helpful, responsive and encouraging. They didn't rush the match, ensuring I had explored a variety of options to choose the right nonprofit for me. I would highly recommend working with Skills4Good, and think it's such a great non-financial benefit a company can offer their high valued employees. I strongly recommend them to my colleagues at RBC."
- - - Jodi Wright, Senior Director, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

“Skills4Good’s service was excellent in matching our busy Board with interested candidates. They got the ball rolling, did what they said they were going to do, and provided a great candidate who accepted a position with our Board. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Roland Osske, Board Chair, Immigrant Services Calgary

“The quality of the Board Matching Program services I received from Skills4Good was excellent. I liked their personalized service, their online videos and their prompt response times. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge.”
- - - Laszlo Varsanyi, Vice President, Enbridge

"I rate Skills4Good's matching services as excellent. I liked how prompt their team responds to my inquiries. They are very easy to work with."
- - - Heather Evans, Managing Director, Community Living Ontario Foundation

“I appreciated that Skills4Good got to know me well. Their approach was very high touch and greatly helped with my selection of board opportunities. I give them an excellent rating!”
- - - Benjamin Winograd, Managing Director, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

“Skills4Good is an excellent resource to find qualified Board members. They were always professional and supportive. The process was effortless, timely and successful!”
- - - Gregory Caswell, Executive Director, Alberta Emerald Foundation

“Skills4Good’s board matching services were excellent. The program was effective and efficient. Josephine was extremely relatable and supportive throughout the entire process. I highly recommend Skills4Good to my LGM colleagues.”
- - - Eddie McWhirter, EVP-Finance, LGM Financial Services

“Skills4Good was very professional and efficient in matching us with great new board members! Their board matching services are excellent! I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Karen MacMillan, Executive Co-Director, Foothills Academy

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. They couldn't have made it easier for me to connect with a nonprofit. The online training was fit for purpose and the interviews/questionnaire were instrumental in finding a good fit. I am very happy with my match, which wouldn't have happened without their help. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Julia Stadnyk, Senior Legal Counsel, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good’s services were excellent. Their communication was outstanding - clear, kind, and very punctual. The process was thorough and laid out clearly, which certainly built trust in not only Skills4Good/B3, but in the candidate that was successfully matched with us. I really enjoyed working with them and am very excited that we're welcoming a new board member!”
- - - Joshua Dalledonne, Board President, Calgary Young People's Theatre Society

“I give Skills4Good’s services an excellent rating. I liked working with their team! They were very professional, warm and really cared that I ended up at a nonprofit that not only aligned with my passions, but that was also going to be a good fit with my personality. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at RBC.”
- - - Stephanie Breitman, Senior Credit Analyst, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

”We registered with Skills4Good to try a new recruitment method. The quality of their services was excellent. They had easy-to-use online tools and were very responsive with their feedback. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Joy Parsons, CEO, Fair Haven Homes Society

“Skills4Good invested a lot of work to ensure a great match. I am grateful to Skills4Good for my board appointment. Given their excellent service, I highly recommend them to my Enbridge colleagues!”
- - - Tanya Mushynski, Vice President, Enbridge

“Skills4Good was intentional about understanding our board needs. They presented excellent candidates and we’re thrilled with the outcome!”
- - - Anne Marie Peirce, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Mississauga

”The absolute professionalism, dedication to personal development and the opportunity to learn directly from the Skills4Good team was excellent. It is evident that they’re respected and connected within the industry. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Jamie Beyore, Director Global Wholesale, Shell Canada

”We were in need of quality board members and were having a hard time connecting with the right individuals. The Skills4Good team was very professional. The candidate was well suited. Communication was easy and the process was efficient. I am very happy with their services. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues."
- - - Bill de Jong, Board Director, Janus Academy Society

"I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. Their program worked perfectly for me. I liked how organized and methodical the matching program was. I also liked their team's individual and personalized approach. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Equifax."
- - - Yosh Ubieda, Senior Finance Analyst, Equifax Canada

”We had been looking for some months to add new members to our Board of Directors. Skills4Good’s services were excellent. We liked working with them because of the quality of applicants we received. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Samantha Fox, Board Chair, London Youth Advisory Council

“I rate Skills4Good’s services as excellent. Everyone was very responsive and helpful. The board volunteer opportunities identified were very much what I was looking for and the Leaders on Board online course was interesting. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Julianne Osberg, Senior Counsel, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good’s professionalism in finding someone for us was unbelievable and made my workload a lot easier as they did the legwork in finding someone. I give them an excellent rating and highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Sarah Preston, Gateway Association

“I liked Skills4Good’s great, very user-friendly online portal interface and excellent nonprofit board governance training. They provided access to many nonprofits without the need to search for them myself. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Alex Markos, Production Manager, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good is a professional organization to work with! Thanks so much for helping us find an amazing person to join our board! I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Kate Butler, Board Director, Hope 24/7

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating! They invested a lot of time and effort to determine my interests and objectives to ensure a great match. They were very responsive to my feedback throughout the process. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge!”
- - - Tanya Mushynski, Vice-President, Enbridge 

“I liked Skills4Good’s personalized connections and excellent support they provided our nonprofit. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues. Their services were excellent.”
- - - Rebecca White, CEO, Engineers of Tomorrow

“Skills4Good has the nonprofit connections and methodology in place to first understand what resonated with me professionally and personally. They found the appropriate board contacts to facilitate my placement. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Brody Mainville, Head of Retail, Shell Canada

“We contacted Skills4Good because of their impressive reputation. Their board matching services are excellent! I enjoyed communicating with their team. They made the board matching process very smooth. I have only positive feedback from my experience with Skills4Good!”
- - - Julie Wildgoose, Board Director, Centennial Infant and Child Centre

“Skills4Good’s level of service and professionalism is top-notch. I liked their very high touch service and online board training. They made sure I understood everything and were there for me every step of the way. They really match personal passion to nonprofit. I give them an excellent rating and highly recommend them to my colleagues at LGM.”
- - - Diana Ricketts, VP of Strategic Partnerships, LGM Financial Services

”The communications we received from Skills4Good was terrific. The candidate was a good match to our organization. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Carlene Chrumka, Executive Director, Janus Academy Society

”The Skills4Good team was very knowledgeable about the working of Boards and areas that would not be known by the more general audience. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge.”
- - - Christine Neff, Vice President, Enbridge

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating! Their matching process was spot on to connect applicants with the experience and interest to our nonprofit board. This is a great service to match volunteers with the right skill sets for boards. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Pam Banks, Executive Director, RIC Centre

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