What's In A Name?

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Shakespeare tells usthat a "rose by any other name smells as sweet". So I'm excited to introduce today's guest blogger, Lynda Gerty, who discusses the importance of identity and names. Lynda is the Manager of Marketing & Communications at Volunteer Vancouver. Read on to understand the cross out.

This summer, I dreamed and schemed my way into an extended leave from work in order to explore the highways and back roads of our neighbour to the south. The trip took me 12,000 kilometres across the northern US, down the Mississippi River, across Texas into New Mexico, and finally back to the breezy West Coast.


I had been to the US before, of course, but stuck mainly to big cities: Seattle, Las Vegas, New York. And so - prior to this trip - I sat firmly in the camp with those who view the differences between Canada and the United States as largely exaggerated. The two countries are so intimately entwined that I saw our identities and characteristics as largely the same. Of course, we enjoy thinking that we are culturally distinct as Canadians but, in truth, I always thought our sense of uniqueness was overblown.


So, how did I feel after almost two months of roaming through the United States of America? I guess you could say that I gained an appreciation for the unique identity of each nation. Somewhere between the blues music of juke joints in the Mississippi Delta, the State Fair in North Dakota, talk radio hosts doling out social commentary with a broad twang, and the flavour of cold margaritas in Santa Fe, I began to understand the uniqueness of America a little bit better. And when I crossed the border back into Canada, I felt the difference in my bones. No one was more surprised than I was.


I took the trip fully expecting there would be many lessons learned along the way - but not knowing what they would be. It turns out that one of the greatest pieces of learning was this: there is beauty in acknowledging - even claiming - one's unique identity. Whether we're talking about individuals, nations, or organizations... life is richer for the differences among us.


It was in this spirit that I returned to Volunteer Vancouver, where my responsibilities for the fall included launching a new name for the organization. Today, we officially begin doing business as Vantage Point. Why? And better yet - what the heck does that have to do with the differences between Canada and the United States?


Those are good questions. And the answer is - this organization also has a unique culture, a distinctive way of viewing the world. Anyone who visits us for any period of time experiences that difference, just as I did in the US this summer.


Vantage Point is a new way of looking at how organizations work with people to achieve their missions. As we adopt Vantage Point as our new name, we invite you, our community, to acknowledge and celebrate our uniqueness with us. We hope that you will!

And if you have any thoughts on our name change, please share them as comments here.

About the Author

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Comments

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
Volunteer Vancouver is an excellent and catchy name. I am disappointed to hear of the new (additional) name. I feel proud to be associated with Volunteer Vancouver. I tell everyone about it. The new name, by contrast, is corporate sounding.
Virginia Edelstein's picture
Virginia Edelstein on

Thanks for your comment, and it is certainly a bit sad to leave part of our heritage behind. But we have changed as have the times, and are eager to get you as excited about "Vantage Point" as you have been about "Volunteer Vancouver". Rest assured, it's still us! - Virginia

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
I have to agree with the first post-er. Why move from a simple, unique and well-established name that effectively describes what you do, to something that is so ambiguous it's meaningless, and is already being used by almost every kind of organization- google and you'll find a Dennis Quaid movie, a real estate development, a photography studio, a venture capital firm... and the list goes on. I'm astonished VV would spend money on such an unnecessary exercise when you HAD a great brand.
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
Wow, I just googled and the poster above is right. Vantage Point is an extremely overused name. After reading the rationale for the name change, I am deeply disappointed. I think it's the wrong direction for the organization. Branding. Creating unique materials. I wish the organization would focus more on helping smaller non-profits become excellent, instead of on becoming top industry consultants to larger non-profits.
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
In one of the emails sent out from "info@volunteervancouver.ca", announcing this change it said: "We'll still be doing business as Volunteer Vancouver too". So this organization will have two names?
Virginia Edelstein's picture
Virginia Edelstein on

Yes, that's right. We will continue to operate as Volunteer Vancouver on the programs that fit most clearly with that heritage, like www.govolunteer.ca and our membership.

We are adding Vantage Point as a second doing-business-as name for all of our professional development opportunities, many of which have no specific focus on volunteer engagement or management. Programs like the Executive Directors' Institute and the Next Leaders' Network are about building the capacity of organizations, not just the capacity of their volunteer programs.

We believe this will increase our ability to deliver our mission - to inspire and build leadership in the voluntary sector - by more accurately reflecting the variety of programs and services that we offer not-for-profit organizations.

Brian Fraser's picture
Brian Fraser (not verified) on

I like the new name and think it marks an important turning point in the ways Volunteer Vancouver has chosen to inspire and build leadership in the voluntary sector. Volunteers will come and stay with organizations that provide the quality of passion, purpose, and support that really enables them to contribute their best to their chosen cause. That's the vantage point Volunteer Vancouver has come to and I think it provides an essential service to the voluntary sector in Vancouver that no one else is offering is quite the same way. Their people lens and governance as leadership framework emerge from the best of the research in the sector and address the major pain points most nonprofits feel these days and allow them to learn the arts of continuous improvement in delivering their services.

Virginia Edelstein's picture
Virginia Edelstein on

Thanks for the supportive comments, Brian! It's encouraging to hear that our new name is also sparking thoughts around where we are and where we will be. How will we move ahead if we always look behind, after all?

Lee Rose's picture
Lee Rose (not verified) on
Congratulations on the new name. Love it. It resonates and calls attention to your important work and role in our sector. Lee Rose HR Council for the Voluntary & Non-profit Sector.
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
Congrats on the rebranded identity – very fitting that with a view to your people lens vantage point is the new moniker. Good luck and success under your new banner. Bjorn Osieck Executive Director British Columbia Soccer Association
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on
Great new name! Dale Cuthbertson, Executive Director Chilliwack Community Services (and former Executive Director, Volunteer Vancouver)
Virginia Edelstein's picture
Virginia Edelstein on

I can only say that I am so grateful for everyone's comments about our name change. Some of your are right there with us, and others not so much. I do hope you'll give us the opportunity to prove that you can work with Vantage Point as well or possibly better than you did with Volunteer Vancouver.

In the meantime, I'm really just excited about all these comments! The most on our blog yet? You might be influencing us to take regular, contentious action just for the dialogue opportunities! Really - I appreciate you reading with us. Please continue to comment - even on the less controversial posts.

Dorothy Gurney - Semiahmoo House Society's picture
Dorothy Gurney ... (not verified) on
Dear Lynda, I think the name change is fresh and appropriate -- from the vantage point of Vancouver's Volunteer organization you may be able to see what is coming our way and also what we can, as individual volunteer agencies, do in our efforts to assist in the community as well as how we can be innovative and open to people and programmes that you can see from your "vantage point". I like it. Dorothy
Lynda's picture
Lynda on

Thanks for weighing in with your support, Dorothy!  As we continue our transition to this new name, it's great to be reminded that our "vantage  point" provides great value for our stakeholders.  Glad you like it!

Bill Wren's picture
Bill Wren (not verified) on
As I'm way out at the opposite end of the country in New Brunswick, I won't comment on the name other than to say I like both. I'd rather comment on the road trip aspect. I had a post today about road trip stories rarely being about road trips - they are usually about something else, like discovery of self, nation, relationships etc. Lynda's post is a wonderful example of this discovery aspect.
Lynda's picture
Lynda on

Thanks Bill!   I really enjoyed your blog post today about road trips.  =)  Thanks for weighing in here - we love hearing from the other side of the country!

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t: 604 875 9144
f: 604 875 0710
1183 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5

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