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Meet Kathryn Juricic, The Narwhal’s membership and events manager

Whether it’s organizing fundraisers or volunteering as a Big Sister, Kathryn’s passion for community-building is evident in everything she does

Behind every well-charged machine are the people doing the little things to make sure everything runs smoothly. For The Narwhal, one of the central figures behind the spreadsheets since our inception in 2018 has been Kathryn Juricic.

If you’re a member, Kathryn’s name might sound familiar. She is the eyes, ears and heart behind much of our donor stewardship. Whether it’s updating our databases, ordering swag or thanking all the readers who help make our journalism possible (with the help of one very dedicated volunteer —  co-founder Emma Gilchrist’s mum — who writes all of our personalized thank you notes), Kathryn is always there to tackle things with compassion and care.

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Before joining us full-time this fall, Kathryn served as the communications and event co-ordinator for Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group in Victoria and then as the development coordinator at RAVEN, a charity that raises funds for Indigenous legal challenges. 

Now that she has signed on as our membership and events manager, we caught up with Kathryn to learn about The Narwhal’s evolution, why Excel work can be rewarding and the on-the-tusk name of the soccer team she captains.

How did you start getting involved in community building?

Throughout university I worked for a local community non-profit organization called Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. I organized a music festival and a bunch of art projects and then I helped launch a fundraiser for them that was called the Gift of Good Food. Fernwood NRG runs a program called the Good Food Box, which is like a wholesale vegetable distribution agency. We started a community fundraiser that raises money to purchase food boxes for low-income families for the whole year. And then we partnered with community houses throughout the Greater Victoria region. It just grew and grew and grew and grew. And we ended up giving away thousands of food boxes to hundreds of families every year.

What attracted you to work at The Narwhal?

It’s where I turn for information on topics that I really care about. And everything is always very professional and well researched. And I love the team. It’s just an amazing organization run by really talented women who really care about all sides of an issue and also the people that work for them.

What has it been like being around since The Narwhal’s founding to now seeing how things have developed?

When the idea first came up between Emma and Carol, it was just so exciting. And all of the surveys that they went through and the rigmarole to make it happen was just really beautiful and passionate. And it took a lot of energy and effort. And to see it grow — clearly there is a need for this kind of journalism that is fulfilling something really necessary in our society. It’s just amazing to watch women dream and then work really, really, really hard to make it happen.

The Narwhal really got rolling when Carol and Emma made those funny videos. They were just being so authentically themselves. And it was really personal. And that’s what brought people in with them. And I just love how that has stayed true. Even though the team keeps growing and everything keeps growing, it’s staying true to that vibe.

Do you have any memories of any crazy times in the early days of The Narwhal?

When I first started working for The Narwhal, I had to migrate all of our monthly donors to a new system, which is exactly what I’m doing now, but more intense. And it was one of the first tasks that I had to do and I really wanted to do a good job at it. Emma told me: “These are the steps.” I followed them precisely. And then it turned out that the steps were told to her incorrectly and we ended up double charging all of the members that we had. Thankfully, after we apologized profusely everyone forgave us and they were really happy to support us.

close up shot of kathryn outdoors
Throughout the rollercoaster of the past few years of The Narwhal’s growth, Kathryn has been here through it all to keep things running smoothly. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

I admire your dedication to database management. 

Oh my god. I do not. I wish I could cut corners so bad and it’s just not my way. I didn’t know that I liked anything to do with databases until rather recently and I’m trying to really be okay with that. But I just love the problem-solving aspect and I love that no one else wants to do it. So I feel really useful (laughs). 

It’s not always the prettiest task. 

No, but it also tells a story of our impact. And I think that’s really cool. The fact that people are willing to pay for our journalism speaks wonders — even when we don’t ask them. And we will ask you.

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m an avid sewer. I just finished a jacket for my friend. I have like eight projects on the go right now.

And I love building community, through events and music and gatherings, but also just supporting friends. I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and I’ve been a Big Sister for the past four years. 

I love hiking, running, biking and triathlons. I’m a cardio junkie. And I love my soccer team. I’m currently the captain and we’re called the Narbhals.

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You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired five journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 3,700 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

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