Trent University’s vice-president of external relations and development, Julie Davis, was elected as chair of the board for the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE), a membership-based organization providing advancement professionals at over 120 member schools across Canada with opportunities for networking, professional development, and support.
“I'm very focused on the fact that this is a membership organization, and that our number one goal is to deliver value for our members and provide support on emerging issues,” says VP Davis. “It is incredibly powerful when we have everybody at the table to share their ideas and develop new ways of thinking about how we increase our impact on the educational sector.”
The CCAE serves a wide range of member institutions from universities, institutes and colleges to independent schools. Advancement professionals within these organizations include those working in external relations, philanthropy, marketing and communications, advancement services, and alumni relations.
As a community-minded leader and relationship builder, VP Davis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role as CCAE board chair. She believes it is critical for smaller institutions, like Trent, to be present at the board table to give eminence to the work being done within these organizations. She will serve a two-year term as the CCAE chair, after which she will serve two years as past chair and chair of the nominating committee.
At Trent, VP Davis has been key in building stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with local Michi Saagiig communities. One of her key priorities as CCAE chair is to use her experience to advance reconciliation, equity, and inclusion within the CCAE and the education sector.
“In the last few years, we have seen an increased focus on reconciliation in both our role as a sector and in how the CCAE serves its members” explains VP Davis. “Reconciliation is certainly a big focus of mine coming into this position – supporting CCAE members as they work with Indigenous students and communities, and ensuring that the advancement profession reflects the diversity of the students we support.”
Leading by example
VP Davis has served on the CCAE board for the past six years, including as vice-chair of the finance and investment committee and the professional learning committee.
“I think that, given we work in a sector that relies upon volunteers, it is really important to give back our time by volunteering as well,” shares VP Davis. “My involvement with the CCAE is an opportunity to engage with colleagues across the country – we get to share experiences, celebrate together and exchange ideas on addressing some of the challenges we and our institutions face. I think that the charitable sector is really good at sharing their learnings and experiences for the greater good.”
VP Davis has a long history of volunteerism, and currently also serves as vice chair of Five Counties Children’s Centre, an organization that helps children with physical, communication and developmental needs throughout a broad geographic region. Past volunteer positions include being a founding board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, serving on the board for Musicfest, being a member of the campaign cabinet for the United Way of Peterborough and District, and on the Cavan-Monaghan Economic Development Advisory Council.