Cam graduated from UBC in the olden days and enjoyed a very interesting career, retiring 6 years ago. Highlights included over 15 years in the airline business where he did everything but the three “f’s”: flying, financing and fixing. After a short stint with an advertising agency where he helped launch Canadian Airlines international, he joined Tourism British Columbia. He was responsible for the marketing of BC as a tourism destination with offices in 7 overseas countries. Needless to say, his career involved a great deal of travel allowing little opportunity for volunteer work. As he approached retirement, he joined the board of Friends for Life where he served for five years.
Why did you choose to volunteer at PAN?
When my last term ended at Friends for Life, I decided to seek a more hands-on opportunity. A specific requirement included working with staff in their office, supporting their programs. While I like to say that stuffing envelopes is important, I wanted something more challenging. PAN answered the call and I have certainly been challenged. In the last year, I’ve learned more acronyms than you’d ever think possible as well as four new software programs. I find most of the work to be rewarding and helpful at keeping my brain active although that 150 column by 110-line spreadsheet almost did me in.
What first piqued your interest in the HIV sector?
As someone who lived through the HIV crisis in the 80’s and 90’s, watching many friends and acquaintances die from this disease, I have had a long time interest in this sector.
How do you see the impact of your work in the “real world”?
As a volunteer, I’m there to assist my colleagues in developing, executing and evaluating their programs. Hopefully, this assistance will allow them more time to develop truly effective programs that make an impact upon the community. With a lifetime of work behind me, I may be the one to offer a viable solution or more likely ask the question that stimulates thought on how to improve the programs.
How do you engage the community in your work?
I don’t directly engage the community in my work but I do get to meet many community leaders at the annual conference. PAN engages with the community resulting in a visible outcome. Communities feel listened to and are therefore more engaged and willing to contribute their learning for the benefit of others.
If you had unlimited funds, which area would you invest in?
With unlimited funds, I’d invest in more research to develop a cure, not just drugs that hold HIV in remission.
If you were able to choose, what is the natural talent or superpower you’d like to be gifted with and why?
As someone who is not athletically inclined, it would be wonderful to have more natural athletic talent.