Culture is Key

October marks my one year anniversary of working at Blakely and what a great year it has been! As I was reflecting on the last 12 months, it got me thinking about what has made it so different and one of the key contributors is that I feel like I have found my people.

They get me and I get them.

You know you have found your people when you love hanging out with them inside and outside of work. And that’s not to say I haven’t worked with amazing people in the past – truly some of my closest friendships have grown out of people I have worked with, but even with those great friendships, the company or the environment just wasn’t always a great fit for me. Some days it didn’t feel like I was “Living my best life.”

So along with working amongst great people, I believe these two factors made the past year fantastic:

  1. Doing work you love.
  2. The culture of the organization you are working with.


For me, nothing could be better than the opportunity to help incredible organizations that are making a difference in the world, meet and exceed their fundraising goals. Throughout my career I have worked in numerous roles in marketing and fundraising, and I truly believe that this is what I was meant to do. I now understand that phenomenon people talk about — that if you find something you love then it doesn’t feel like work at all.


Even if you have found the perfect job doing something you LOVE, if it isn’t with people you love working with, if it isn’t in the right type of organization, or the right environment for you – you will not be thriving.

Culture is so much more than just having a passionate internal mission statement. It’s the personality of your organization and it encompasses the following: the way people work, the processes, the values, the way people interact with each other — colleagues and clients alike — the way decisions are made, the way the company is led, and most importantly how you feel as a part of the organization. This is what has made a difference for me – finding the right culture.

The culture of an organization will not only attract great talent but culture is often a reason people stay long term. There are always good and bad times in any workplace and in any sector, but a company with great culture will learn from those bad times and create an opportunity to improve.

People often ask me, “Is working at Blakely really as fun as it seems on social media?” And I can honestly say it is but it’s not just because we have fun as a group (although we certainly do), but it’s because we recognize that building and maintaining a great culture is a tonne of work. It’s a big investment and we know it’s one of the most important things we can focus on.

Culture has been something Blakely has been working hard at for years, and now we are making an effort to get people talking in their own organizations about it. If you are heading to IFC then don’t miss the workshop on Culture Club, and if you are heading to AFP Congress in November, be sure to attend the panel on leaders who will share first hand how their approach affects the people and personalities of their own organizations.


Amy Pawluk

EVP, New Business