After nine years of working in the North End, Kyle Mason has decided it is time for someone else to take the lead at the North End Family Centre.
Mason announced his resignation as the organization’s executive director on Aug. 16, saying it wasn’t a quick and easy decision but a matter of recognizing when his work was concluded. A new and fresh skill set is needed to take the organization to the next level, he said.
“I had a few people call me, text me, saying ‘OK, what’s the real story?’ I think sometimes people were expecting that there was more to it, but it’s really true and authentic to what I put out there,” he said of his social media announcements published on Aug. 16.
Almost 10 years ago, when Mason and his wife moved back to the North End from another province, he had the desire to do something good in the community he grew up in. Mason said his story is “the North End story.” Both his parents were impacted by residential schools. He was raised in a single-parent family that struggled to make ends meet, which he said is a circumstance similar to what people are facing in the community NEFC serves.
He realized many people were doing great work in the North End, mostly focused in North Point Douglas or Selkirk Avenue, but the St. John’s and Luxton areas had many of the same issues and fewer resources to address these concerns. He spent six months talking to the community about what their needs were and how they should be addressed.
“From day one I wanted to do things with people, I didn’t want to do things at people,” he said.
Since the beginning, Mason’s goal was to put on an organization that would’ve outgrown, outlast and outlive him. The organization has had a significant impact in the community and recently moved to a larger location at 1344 Main St.
“I may have been the person who got this ball rolling, but I don’t own it, I never have, and I never carried myself that way,” he told The Times. “It’s a vision that thousands of people have bought into.”
“I’m just one guy who is part of this whole system… I just played the part, and my part was to get the ball rolling and get this organization growing to its current state being.”
Mason added a good leader knows when to start something, when to lead something and when to get out of the way. Nevertheless, he is not rushing. He’ll stay until the board of directors finds a replacement for him, a person he will train.
“I could see this role needing to change somewhat in the future, and I think a different skill set is needed and I am who I am, I can’t change my skill set, so that’s one of the reasons I initiated the change.”
Mason said he will continue to be involved with the organization as a financial donor, future volunteer and in any other way the board asks him to serve. Furthermore, he continues to hold his position as the president of the North End Community Renewal Corporation and will continue to stay involved in the projects he cares about.
“I’m a North Ender. I’ll remain a North Ender after this.”
This difficult decision allowed Mason to reminisce on the great things he accomplished over the years and he said he is grateful for the people he’s met and honoured by those who have invited him into their lives.
“Over the years I’ve been through the good times and rough times with people. There are many cases where I’ve seen people coming through our doors where they are struggling in multiple ways to years later they are thriving and doing well, and they are happy, and they are healthy,” he continued.
“They’ve impacted me back just as much.”