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Member Spotlight: Courtney Flug and Ree Ford

 | Published on 1/9/2020


Courtney Flug and Ree Ford
Position: Volunteer Manager and Community Outreach & Engagement Coordinator VISTA
Organization: VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People)
MAVA Member Since: 2016 & 2019

Please describe your volunteer program:
VEAP is a basic needs organization. We support our clients by providing access to healthy foods, social services, housing stability and other supportive services. With a small staff, we rely on our 3,000 generous volunteers to help us advance our mission in a variety of roles each year.

What is your role?

Courtney, VEAP’s Volunteer Manager, directly oversees our volunteers. She is responsible for all aspects of our volunteer program. Ree, VEAP’s Americorps VISTA, is using her year of service to aid Courtney in supporting and engaging our volunteers. Her focus is on expanding and diversifying VEAP’s volunteer corps, developing and implementing trainings that promote inclusion, and deepening partnerships with multicultural communities.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?

Courtney began her nonprofit career after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work. She worked for 15 years with an organization that successfully engaged volunteers so the transition from direct service to volunteer management was natural. Courtney also grew up in a family that highly valued being of service to the community so she feels right at home working with volunteers. The enthusiasm volunteers bring to the work energizes and inspires Courtney. Most of all, she loves building bridges between the resources of the community and the needs of VEAP. Ree is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and, while there, spent a lot of time working and volunteering with underserved communities. She had such a positive, transformative experience while volunteering that she wanted to take a leap and see the behind-the-scenes of volunteer work. Before coming to VEAP she worked within one of her university’s academic offices as a peer advisor as well as supported their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives by developing and facilitating workshops. Prior to graduating, she also served as a Community Outreach Intern for the Minnesota Literacy Council and learned a lot during her time there about what all goes into volunteer management.

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?
For Courtney, it means access to information, research, resources and networking opportunities. MAVA is a national leader in the field of volunteer management so it is a real benefit to have access to their expertise right here in the metro area. For Ree, it’s through MAVA that she can be an Americorps VISTA and serve at VEAP. MAVA continues to be an important part of the work that she does by providing opportunities and resources to further her mission as a VISTA, learn more and make connections within the field. Can you recall a time when being a MAVA member directly impacted your work in your organization? What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact? MAVA provides invaluable support to Ree as a VISTA when it comes to work surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Attending MAVA’s Do Better Together events, reading their research on inclusive volunteerism and immigrant and refugee communities, as well as having Lisa Joyslin’s direct support as a resource has been irreplaceable when it comes to accomplishing her goals.

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?

The best advice Courtney ever received came from her dad, Run Your Race. She has applied this advice to running marathons, life and volunteer management. It means be true to yourself, have a plan and control what you can control. If you focus on doing the best that you can do, you will make a unique impact on the world.