VEGA Volunteer of the Year 2016
Nominating Member: International Executive Service Corps (IESC)
Lynda Swenson is an extraordinary service example. This year, IESC, a VEGA Member and Farmer-to-Farmer Implementer, nominated Lynn for her work on a Farmer-to-Farmer assignment in Egypt. But in addition, VEGA’s award selection panel agreed that Lynn deserves special recognition for her remarkable dedication to volunteer service. As a retired banking executive, Lynn has volunteered on over 50 assignments for several VEGA member organizations, including Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, IESC, Land O’Lakes International Development, and Winrock International on a variety of programs from Lebanon to Angola. She has trained and partnered with cooperatives, community based financial organizations, and private companies in business and financial management. She has worked with farmers, agro dealers, seed producers and microfinance institutions on agricultural value chains in the areas of Organizational Development and Governance, Finance and Banking, Strategic and Business Planning. Remarkably, Lynn is hoping to lend her considerable skills to another 50 assignments in the future.
Lynda Swenson volunteers for many reasons. “The most important [reason] is to ‘give back’ some of the knowledge and experience that I have gained from a world-class education in the USA and throughout my career as a banker and finance professional,” she said. “I am not a wealthy person who can donate dollars; I can, however, donate my time and energy.”
On one such project in Egypt with IESC, under a Land O’Lakes International Development program funded through VEGA, Lynn helped managers at economic and agricultural development organizations build their organizational capacity through good financial management practices. Lynn taught a four-day training and provided direct assistance to 44 people. With better control of their resources, these organizations are able to spend more time focusing on their mission and beneficiary communities. On more than 30 assignments in Africa with CNFA, Lynn has consulted with and trained various cooperatives, community based financial organizations and private companies in business and financial management, allowing those organizations to better serve their communities.
Lynn’s passion for volunteering won’t end any time soon. Why? Because she truly knows the impact of her work and because “…the friends I have made and continue to know are priceless.”