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Nancy Gaston

Volunteer Initiatives Consultant

Nancy Gaston (she/her) has more than twenty years of experience in volunteer resources management. She has directed a volunteer-staffed crisis line, a volunteer chore service, and a volunteer center. She was also Director of Christian Development – a position combining volunteer resources management and an educational program – for a faith-based congregation. She is the past board president of the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA) and is now a trainer and consultant with her own business, Gifts Differing.

Besides keynoting and presenting regularly on volunteer management, meeting management, and leadership at regional, national, and international conferences, Nancy is a retreat leader, trainer, and consultant for many faith-based groups on spiritual formation, spiritual gifts and personality, and embracing diversity. She also facilitates training for nonprofit boards, governmental boards, and advisory councils on equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Nancy has been an adjunct faculty member at Portland Community College, Marylhurst University, and Washington State University, Vancouver.

She grew up in Michigan but has not lived there since graduating from college with a degree in English and a secondary teaching certificate. She’s taught English, speech, and journalism at high schools in West Virginia and Florida and at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland – where she had students from seventy nations and colleagues from a half dozen countries. Her spoken French is rusty, but she refreshed it while living in Montreal and obtaining a graduate degree from McGill University.

Nancy is certified as a Human Behavior Consultant. She also has a Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA), a performance-based credential. She has edited numerous newsletters and magazines, has had articles printed in more than a dozen publications, and has written chapters in three books. Her volunteer work includes serving on nonprofit boards (including the presidency of Assistance League of Southwest Washington), mentoring high school Advanced Placement students, teaching Junior Achievement classes, and being a “lunch buddy” to a fourth-grade student.

Nancy and her husband Mike have three grown daughters scattered across the continent, one grandson, and a cat, Samantha, who lives in (and rules) their home in Vancouver, WA.

Fun Fact: Nancy had a summer job while in college where she worked the afternoon shift at a plastics factory, making handles for police pistols. This brief and painful (she kept burning her hands) foray into manufacturing cemented her commitment to the nonprofit world.