Get to Know Our New CEO, Todd Shafer

Todd Shafer became the CEO of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association on May 1, 2018. We sat down with him for a brief Q and A to introduce him to our network.

On May 1, 2018, the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association ushered in a new era with Todd Shafer taking on the role of CEO. Todd has a passion for leadership and learn­ing and a fundamental belief in the importance of recreation and its role in the development of people, communities and environments.

He has been busy getting to know the organization, its members and staff. And if you didn’t have a chance to meet him at the Framework for Recreation in Canada Forum or our Strategic Plan focus groups in May, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know a little more about him.

Q: What are you most excited for in your new role as CEO?

A: The opportunity to join SPRA, an organization with such a solid reputation in the recreation field, is a dream come true for me. I am excited to return home to my roots here in Saskatchewan after living in the Northwest Territories for the past 16 years and be in position to make a very good organization even better. Recreation leaves a positive and lasting impact on the lives of people across this province and I look forward to playing a significant role in its continued development. 

Q: You have been involved with the recreation sector for over 25 years, what keeps you motivated?

A: There are three things that continue to drive my involvement in the sector:

  1. The people – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with some of the most energetic, fun, talented and open-minded people in Canada. Recreation attracts this type of personality and it seems as though on a daily basis, I’m reminded of how many incredible individuals we have working in the sector from across the country.
  2. Change – I love new challenges and throughout my career I’ve had the chance to prepare for, or respond to, some element of change. I’m an analyst by nature and love the opportunity to find fresh, new ways to address changes.
  3. Making a difference – The recreation sector has provided me with the opportunity to both help develop leaders and impact communities. At the end of every day, I feel as though I’ve had a chance to make a difference in some one’s life, as a result of the work I am privileged to do.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing SPRA moving forward? And how do you intend to overcome it?

A: There has been tremendous growth in the parks and recreation sector over the past few years. The Framework for Recreation in Canada (2015) has set the foundation and articulates the essential nature of the role that recreation plays in the development of people, communities and environments. The greatest challenge for SPRA now is to build on this foundation and to find ground-breaking ways of impacting the wellbeing of the people in Saskatchewan. I believe that SPRA is well-positioned to provide the type of leadership that will stimulate creativity and innovation, challenge the status quo and provide support to those organizations who are committed to getting everyone in this province engaged in meaningful parks and recreation experiences.

Q: Tell us a bit about your personal interests and recreation activities.

A: When I am not at work, I enjoy any time that I get to spend with my family - walking, cycling, fishing, exploring new places and trying new activities – I’ve recently taken up Stand-up Paddleboarding and am loving it! And even though I’m getting older, I still enjoy any opportunity I have to get out on both a volleyball court or baseball diamond, as either a player or coach.

Q: And finally tell us what your ideal day would be like? 

A: My perfect day starts early in the morning with a really good cup of coffee, and breakfast with my loved ones, followed by a 45 minute walk or cycle, preferably through some type of wooded environment. I appreciate some quiet time for reflection or future thought, along with some reading that stimulates and inspires me. My interactions with others throughout the day are a combination of gathering knowledge and information on key topics facing the sector and coaching conversations that make a difference in someone else’s day, work and/or life. The evening begins with a barbeque dinner eaten with family and/or friends while sitting on a deck (in the shade though, because I sunburn easily), finished off with a chance to play or watch a movie or baseball game, before getting a restful night’s sleep.