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Heather Buzila

The NEC in Detail: President and Past President

Illustration of four people chatting around two laptops with blank speech bubbles and a light bulb representing ideas in the air around them.
Illustration of four people chatting around two laptops with blank speech bubbles and a light bulb representing ideas in the air around them.
Copyright: alisarut

This is the first in a series of posts describing the roles of the Editors Canada national executive council by Heather Buzila. This series is also available in French (cette série est également disponible en français).

The Editors Canada national executive council (NEC) consists of directors who have been elected by the Editors Canada membership to govern the association. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, there are up to 12 directors, depending on the number of volunteers interested in NEC roles each year.

Each month, I’ll give you an overview of two directors’ duties and responsibilities, beginning with the president and past president. 


All NEC directors must be active members of Editors Canada. In addition, they should have the following qualities:

  • Strong leadership skills
  • Ability to think strategically
  • Excellent communication
  • Good people skills

Once elected or acclaimed, all directors are responsible for submitting quarterly reports to the NEC to update the group about what they are working on.


When I served as president, I found people skills to be particularly important. As leader of the NEC, I was often called on to be diplomatic and tactful while discussing how to solve a problem or when trying to defuse a tense situation. The president works to create harmony within the NEC and between the NEC and committees, task forces, branches and twigs, and members. 

To be eligible to run for president, volunteers must have already held another NEC position in the preceding two years (one term’s worth of NEC experience).

In terms of specific duties, the president makes sure the NEC stays on track and follows the association’s bylaw, policies and procedures

One of the big tasks is creating agendas for and chairing NEC meetings and the AGM. The president also invites branches and twigs to attend NEC meetings.

Chairing the human resources committee and overseeing the national francophone adviser and the equity, diversity and inclusion committee are also part of the president’s duties. And the president awards the President’s Award for Volunteer Service each year, which is a really fulfilling part of the job!

This person also takes on the role of national spokesperson for the association, both internally and externally. 

Past president

After serving for two years, the president transitions to the role of past president. The past president’s main job is to orient and assist the president, ensuring historical continuity for the NEC. 

In addition, they hold a number of committee roles and submit quarterly reports to the NEC. 

The past president oversees the career builder and student relations committees. They also join the president, vice president and treasurer to form the human resources committee. And beginning in January each year, the past president chairs the nominations committee, which fills vacant directorships and national and committee chair positions

Another important focus for the past president is fostering partnerships with similar associations. Editors Canada has many partnerships in place already, and the past president works to create new partnerships (and increase existing benefits) for Editors Canada members through agreements with other organizations.

Upcoming role descriptions

In my next post, I’ll focus on the roles of vice president and treasurer. 

If you have any questions about the director positions or would like more information, please email me at


Previous post from Heather Buzila: Your Editors Canada National Executive Council

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About the author

Heather Buzila

Heather began her editing career in 2007 and is a certified copy editor and stylistic editor with Editors Canada. She currently works at Athabasca University in Edmonton, where she edits materials for online courses in humanities and social sciences. She's also edited fiction and nonfiction book manuscripts, professional development modules and website materials for diverse organizations. She has been a member of Editors Canada's national executive council since 2018 and served as president for three years. Heather also chaired the 2021 Editors Canada conference and plans to continue volunteering with the association.

4 Comments on “The NEC in Detail: President and Past President”

  • Anita Jenkins


    Thanks. We need this information. And more about the structure and operations of the association. Particularly the budget.

  • Gael Spivak


    In response to Anita’s comment, any member can access the various handbooks that describe, in detail, the roles and responsibilities of all the positions in the association. Look for these items on the Volunteer Resources page (in the member section):
    The Volunteer Handbook
    The Committee Book
    The Directors Handbook

    In addition, there is budget info in each annual report (publicly available) and in each set of AGM minutes (available on the website in the members’ section).

    • Anita Jenkins


      But it is helpful to have a blog post that tells people about the association in simple terms and broadcasts the info. Most don’t take the time to research. I download the annual report every year and then never seem to get around to reading it. I don’t think I am unusual. (Well, I am unusual, but not in that way!)

  • Gael Spivak


    I agree that the blog post is helpful. Some people read your comment to mean that this information is not available at all, so I was providing clarification about the many places that people can find it.

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