Lead By Example

With Brent Stefan, McFarlan Rowlands— Community Leader

Known in the industry as a Partner and Branch Manager at McFarlan Rowlands, Brent Stefan’s career spans far beyond the world of insurance. In his community of Delhi, Ontario he’s known for being a community leader, visionary, volunteer and friend.

Over the past thirty-plus years, Brent has dedicated his life to giving back and serving his community. From leading large projects to pitching in personally, no job is too big or small. Brent’s volunteer experience spans at least three pages. This impressive list includes volunteer positions with the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, CrimeStoppers, the Central Erie Insurance Brokers Association, Delhi Curling Club, Silver SpokeCycling Club, Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario and currently, the President and Founding member of the new Delhi Kin Club (formerly Kinsmen Club of Delhi)—the latter being the volunteer position Brent is most known for.

It’s clear that Brent not only enjoys offering his time to the community, he truly loves it. His participation, hand-up attitude, and quest for bigger and better in his community can be an inspiration to all. Brent leads by example and keeps these mantras in mind along the way: assess where you can make a difference, engage in something your passionate about and act on ideas.

The Inspiration You Need to Get Involved

When asked how he started his volunteer career within the community, Brent’s response was simple – “I’ve always done it, and I can’t actually remember a time that volunteering was not a big part of my daily life.” Brent credits his uncle as a major source of inspiration—getting him involved in small projects at a young age and making sure the experience he had while volunteering was a good one. Looking back, Brent recalls his uncle sharing some advice that he had long lived by, this was—being involved and volunteering in the community were intertwined, and success in the community had a direct correlation to success in life. “When I look back today, that advice could not stand truer,” notes Brent.

While Brent has held several different volunteer positions in the Delhi community, his most memorable and impactful opportunity has been at the Delhi Kin Club—a place where he has spent almost 20 years volunteering. Kin Clubs across Canada work to better their communities, enhance the well-being of Canadians and improve the environment. During his tenure at the organization, Brent has led several hats-off projects that reinvigorated not only the community but the people living in it. From raising $125,000 to restore a historic Delhi sawmill, or saving the local pool from shut down, in addition to increasing popularity and membership for the Kin Club itself—Brent’s experience and successful track record is no small feat.

Passion Project

How do you do it all? How do you have a full-time career in insurance, spend time with your family, have fun, have down time AND make time for volunteering?

This question quickly comes to mind when people think about donating their time—volunteering often gets pushed to the bottom of the list of life’s responsibilities and the though remains—how do you do it all? Brent is a firm believer that “if you enjoy doing something, you will continue doing it. If you want to do something, you will find the time. I absolutely love giving back to my local and work community and once you see the difference you can make, there is nothing better. There is a magic in volunteering that can’t be replicated elsewhere—it’s beyond rewarding.”

A steady decrease in volunteers within the community in past years has been a current problem that Brent is working to solve. The pandemic, balancing work and life, the daily hustle, and a general lack of awareness of the opportunities available in the community are all factors in this reality. Brent oozes passion when he talks about the challenge, knowing that he will do everything in his power and within the resources available to incite change and increase volunteers. Brent goes on to say “Delhi has given me so much, I was born and raised here, I went to great schools, played sports, raised a beautiful family and have had a very successful career right here in the small town of Delhi. The question really is, how do I not give back to a community that has made my life so full.”

Make a Change

If you can dream it, you can do it. 

Taking action is often the most difficult part of seeing any idea through to the end. In the Delhi community, Brent is known for his “get-it-done” attitude and it’s this character trait that sets him apart from the rest.

“If I have an idea, or an idea is brought to me that I believe in, I will make sure it gets done. Some ideas are more challenging than others but if you pitch the idea, and get the right people behind you, supporting you, there is no way it can’t be done. I strongly encourage everyone to take on the same mentality when starting their volunteer career. I can guarantee that once you tackle one project, you’ll want to take on another – it’s truly addicting in the best way possible.”

Always on the lookout for his next project, the next opportunity to make magic happen for his community—Brent is excited about what the year ahead will bring. 

If you were wondering if you should take that chance, get involved and volunteer your time, this is your answer – 100% yes. 

3 Things That Go Unnoticed When It Comes to Volunteering

Gratification: There is a level of self-gratification that comes from doing something in the community that is not directly tied to family or business.

Sense of Community: Volunteering truly does bring people together.

Increased Joy & Happiness: You bring a sense of joy to not only your day, but others—this is infectious in the best way possible.

Brent’s Advice to Getting Involved

Whether it’s an ongoing position or a one-time opportunity, everything makes a difference. Brent shared his tips on how to get involved in your local community.

It’s not all timing: The largest barrier I see for people looking to get involved is time—everyone is worried they don’t have enough time. This does not matter. The amount of time is not what counts, every little bit helps. Be transparent about your time and offer help where it fits.

Look for what you’re passionate in: Volunteering with an organization that you care about or are passionate about makes a huge difference. Find something that aligns with your values.

Make it social: You’ll quickly find that when you’re passionate, the rest falls into place. You’ll make friends and you’ll have a lot of fun.

Make it happen, take the risk, get involved!

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