I enjoy applying my business and legal skills to causes I am passionate about, says Patricia Koval in Investment Executive

Knowledge and Experience are Valuable Contributions

February 19, 2010

When it comes to participating in the green movement, some people help by donating money to an environmental organization. Others donate their time, lending "elbow grease," for example, to a local project, such as a park cleanup.

Many business people and professionals have something at least as valuable to offer the environmental movement, says Patricia Koval, chairman of World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF): they can donate their business skills.

Pat, who has been interested in conservation and maintaining biodiversity for as long as she can remember, jumped at the opportunity to apply her business skills for environmental causes when she entered the legal profession. With a focus on corporate finance, she recognizes that she has skills from which non-profit organizations could benefit.

"When I was starting my career," she says, "I wanted an opportunity to use my business and legal skills for a cause in which I could feel like I was giving something back to the community."

Pat has been involved with the WWF for more than 15 years. During that time, she has been able to offer the WWF her general legal skills, as well as her knowledge of finance and governance. She also brings to the table is an array of key contacts in business and government, which has proved valuable for the WWF.

"As a business lawyer, I can open doors through my firm's network of contacts," says Pat. "If the WWF needs an introduction to a government decision-maker or someone who is key to a project from a fundraising perspective, we are able to bring that about."

For Pat's part, her professional and volunteering activities require time management. Her role as WWF chairman takes up eight to ten hours a week; she is also on the task force of Greening Greater Toronto, a project of Toronto City Summit Alliance.

"If you find something that you are passionate about and you are really interested in the organization that you are working with," she says, "it becomes that much easier to find the time."

Read the full article here.

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