As a child, Rory Green wanted to be a fairy princess. Later, she realized this was not the most viable employment option and instead dreamt of being a veterinarian. But that aspiration proved equally impractical after discovering her allergy to fur. Bridging the divide between a dream job and a real job is often a difficult feat. What gave Rory a firmer footing was knowing what she cared about.
As a Poli Sci major plotting her future career path, Rory knew two things for sure: she wanted a ‘non-sciency’ job (the fervent wish of most arts students) and she wanted to lend a helping hand to those in need. The non-profit sector proved a perfect fit. Upon completing her last exams, Rory began her job as a revenue development coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society.
Alongside her work for the society, Rory volunteers with UBC’s Career Services as a speaker on the Arts Career Expo’s (ACE) non-profit panel. She wants students to know that a career with non-profit organizations does not have to mean a penniless existence; the realist and the idealist in you can happily coexist – something she learnt first-hand from her father, who had a successful career in the non-profit sector.
Rory has become skilful at corporate fundraising, but as a big-picture thinker she views her role as much more than asking for money. To her, it’s about presenting an opportunity for individuals and organizations to make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer, a disease that claimed more than 76,000 lives in Canada in the past year alone.
For Rory, the fight against cancer transcends statistics and is deeply personal. When she was 14 her best friend, Valerie, was diagnosed with leukemia. Valerie’s chances of survival were slim and a year later she passed away. Today’s prognosis for leukemia is different. After ten years of research funded by the society and other organizations, approximately nine out of 10 children with the same type of leukemia as Valerie will survive. It is the hope offered by research that fulfills Rory in her work.
Rory’s journey towards the career of her dreams is a story that she feels UBC students need to hear, especially amid a grim job climate. Speaking at ACE, she emphasizes both the value of a UBC degree and the importance of active volunteerism. Rory found her job by contacting organizations whose missions interested her and forging contacts who would remember her name when employment opportunities arose.
Today Rory is not the fairy princess she once dreamt of being; there’s no magic wand, tiara, or ability to commune with cute animals involved in her job description. But she is doing what she loves, and that’s the stuff that dreams are made of.