Published on 18th April 2017
Sheena Hudson, a dear member of the VSA whānau, passed away earlier this month. Carolyn Mark, VSA's former Volunteer Recruitment Manager, shares her memories of Sheena.
Sheena Hudson was a volunteer VSA selection adviser for 30 years, giving up her Saturday mornings to come into the office to interview candidates to assess their personal suitability as a VSA volunteer. Over this time Sheena would have interviewed over a hundred volunteers, all of whom will remember her warmth, enthusiasm, openness and wonderful Scottish accent. As staff, we also remember her sense of humour, and her ability to gain insight into the motivations and personalities of the people she talked to in her one-hour interview. She found the volunteer candidates endlessly interesting and had great admiration for their decision to put their hand up for what she likened to a "hero's journey"
This fascination led Sheena in 2000 to begin a PhD thesis through Massey University on the motivation, experiences and perceived career effects of volunteering overseas. She interviewed 48 volunteers in the 2001 cohort before, during and after their volunteer assignments. Her 314 page thesis identified the necessary personality characteristics to volunteer overseas, especially openness and agreeability, as well as the effects the assignments had on the volunteers. She also identified key volunteer motivations.
Sheena always told us that her thesis led to a love of research and that in researching volunteers' careers she discovered a new career for herself.
Sheena made a huge contribution to VSA over many years. She continued to interview volunteer candidates until too ill to do so, and her cheerful presence will be much missed on selection days.