KPMG Audit Partner, Stephanie Pankratz, returns to lead Board of Directors in 2023.
In her official capacity as Board Chair, Stephanie Pankratz will continue to advance United Way of Calgary and Area’s mission to mobilize communities to create lasting social change thanks to a recent bylaw amendment that allows a board chair, or vice-chair, to serve up to two years.
We spoke with Stephanie to learn what motivates her to dedicate her time, energy, and effort to contributing to making life better for the community. As it turns out, it’s largely about care and compassion, and a love for Calgary and Calgarians.
Q: Why have you chosen to dedicate so much of your time to United Way, for so many years?
A: Really, I get so much more out of my involvement with United Way, compared to my investment of time. I think it’s so encouraging to be a part – a very small part – of a movement that is so impactful in our community. I’m always inspired by United Way staff, agencies, and the people whose lives are transformed so it feels like an easy investment of time to make because the rewards are so abundant. I think of United Way as a bit like Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you never leave. There’s such an ongoing joy of being involved and it’s always interesting because my role has changed over the years.
For the Love of It
Q: You have also volunteered for several years as a Director with the Glenbow Museum. Why do you choose to donate so much of your time, energy, and passion in these leadership capacities?
A: I would say that both organizations really are passions that I’ve had most of my life, growing up here in Calgary. I feel that both the Glenbow Museum and United Way really contribute to making Calgary, or Mohk’insstsis, a really great place to live, work and play. I’m very passionate about making this a truly great community and doing everything we can so that everybody who lives in Calgary feels that it is a great place to live.
I’ve travelled widely; I’ve been to about 44 countries. And the more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve come to appreciate how special it is to live in Calgary, the uniqueness of the opportunities, the geographic location, that can-do spirit, and the friendliness of the city. I often get asked, when people find out about how many places I’ve travelled, where I would live if I could live anywhere, and I tell them, I would live here! I live exactly where I want to live the most, and they are surprised. So, in my ideal future state, someone would ask me that question and I would say Calgary and they would say, “Oh yeah, makes sense!”
You Get More Than You Give
Q: Do you think volunteering has helped you professionally and what other rewards and benefits do you get from donating your time?
A: Absolutely, because I feel like I get so much more out of it than I put into it! The chance to see how different people lead, to hear different points of view, different questions and different ways to approach problems is really creative for me as a leader in my role as a partner at KPMG. It makes me a better professional and a better leader. It makes me more empathetic because I’ve learned more about people from other backgrounds and experiences, and I think that’s important in a leadership role. It’s important, period.
My parents both have a strong history of volunteerism. For example, my mom was on the board of Momentum (a United Way partner agency), including serving as Board Chair. Throughout my life, I’ve seen my parents giving back to the community. And they have always been very encouraging and supportive of me as I’ve pursued different volunteer roles over the years. It just felt natural; that it’s an important way to contribute to my community.