About Gay

Gay Douglas grew up as Gay Preston, in a family where the volunteerism and the non-profit sector was a way of life. Both of her parents were active community volunteers. Her mother was the Executive Director of the Canadian Red Cross Niagara Chapter for 30 years. Gay remembers as a small child, watching her mother at the kitchen table tallying numbers on an adding machine to prepare the annual Red Cross budget.

The Preston family values were clear: you are lucky to grow up in a strong family and a healthy community and you have a commitment to give back.

Gay’s commitment to the non-profit community has spanned all areas of service. As a teenager, she volunteered with the Red Cross and as a Candystriper at the St. Catharines General Hospital. As a young mother, Gay helped to create the Niagara chapter of the Block Parent Program along with a committed group of police officers and parent activists.
 
Gay was widowed at the age of 34. With 2 children to raise, she returned to college to better her chances of a sustainable future. After graduation she was hired into a non-profit management position, setting the stage for the rest of her career.
Gay’s career now spans more than 30 years as an executive director, adult educator and consultant.
She’s worked for a variety of important causes – The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Big Sisters Association on Ontario, and the Recycling Council of Ontario. Always the entrepreneur, in 1992 she created Canada’s first car donation program, and 3 years later developed Canada’s first on-line auction.
 
For 10 years, Gay developed and taught three courses in the post-graduate event management program at Niagara College – human resources management, innovation and leadership. She’s also served as a leadership volunteer on a dozen different boards of directors, often as Chairperson.
 
For the past 25 years, she’s served as the Executive Director (now Co-Executive Director) of Literacy Link Niagara, planning and facilitating a complex service system of government- funded adult education programs.
 
In 2011 she was honoured by the YWCA of Niagara as a Woman of Distinction in the category of Training, Education and Development. She’s one of only 20 consultants trained and accredited by Imagine Canada as a Certified Standards Program Coach.
 
In 2005 Gay combined her experience in volunteer board leadership and professional non- profit management to create Gay Douglas and Associates Inc., (GDA) a consulting company specializing in in 4 key areas:
– Board Governance
– Strategic Planning
– Communications
– Organizational Development & Restructuring
 
Gay’s consulting work focusses on offering practical approaches to clarify accountabilities, communications and relationships, and through policy, make the implicit, explicit. She has helped dozens of boards and councils across Canada function more effectively.
 
She customizes workshops, webinars and coaching to organizations wishing to transform their boards and organizations. Over her years in the non-profit sector she’s collected and developed dozens of practical tools and resources that she shares with her clients.
 
She works closely with Big Bay Publishing, based in Nepean Ontario, and utilizes their outstanding governance and meeting management materials in her work.
 
Most recently Gay has earned accreditation as a Belbin Team Roles Consultant. She helps individuals better understand the key strengths they bring to the team, and how high- performing teams can be constructed for enhanced efficiencies and communications.
 
Gay’s worked with many diverse groups, to name a few:
– Niagara College
– OASIS (Ontario Agencies Serving Individuals with  Special Needs)
– Habitat for Humanity – Niagara
– Hamilton and Brant-Norfolk Affiliates Distress Centre Niagara
– Ottawa-Carleton Coalition for Literacy
– Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB)
– Port Cares Community Resource Centre
 
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