“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
For Ed Temple, this maxim sums up his life in a nutshell. Look him up and you’ll realize very quickly that he’s a star volunteer and business guru who invests in the lives around him. An executive leadership coach active in Calgary’s corporate community, one of Temple’s volunteer roles includes serving as CAUSE Canada’s board chair. What may come as a surprise to those who know him, then, is that his high school teachers wouldn’t have suggested higher education for him at all.
“They would have said, ‘You’re strong, do something with your hands, or go into sports.’ I didn’t start off as a gifted learner,” Temple admits. “It was more later in my life, in my graduate studies that I appreciated all I had to learn and what a gift it was to be able to go to school and continue my studies.” The move into graduate studies was a practical move, something he thought necessary only to advance his career.
Yet it was in graduate school that he found some of his greatest teachers. Aside from knowledge gained through his studies, Temple witnessed firsthand the personal sacrifice his professors made in their lives to dedicate themselves to education. “I appreciated the investment they made in me, of course, but how they lived had the biggest impact on my own life.”
Education is also near and dear to the heart of the Temple family. “One of my girls is very passionate about human rights and being a lawyer someday. [The work at CAUSE] is something I’d like her to get involved in, up close and personal. And my wife benefited from being sponsored to come to Canada. She’s seen firsthand the opportunities that she’s had from her education, compared to if she had grown up without an education in Vietnam. She would be susceptible to a lot more hardships, and more than likely be forced to choose between two outcomes, both undesirable.”
Indeed, the lives of women without access to education are largely limited and predictable. The United Nations reports that women without education are more likely to marry early, have more children at an earlier age, and are at higher risk for poverty, hunger, and death. With education, however, a woman will earn more, be more likely to have a say in family planning and household decisions, and improve the lives of her family. Microfinancing accompanied by business education, for example, can help a woman towards increased autonomy, decreased violence, and greater reproductive control.
Microfinancing was also part of the path that led Temple to CAUSE Canada. Having finished overseeing a massive project between Rotary and Opportunity International, a microfinance organization, Temple was free at exactly the right time to accept an invitation to serve elsewhere. CAUSE Canada fit the bill, especially because of its international work. “I care for and appreciate [local charities] but I’ve chosen to put more of my focus into international work. It’s a bigger challenge to get Canadians caring about international work.”
Armed with an understanding in the power of education, and in the importance of increasing opportunities, Temple knows he is called to serve. “When you receive the benefit of education, it’s important to turn around and say, ‘Where do we make that investment? What other girls need an investment that can give them more options?” At CAUSE Canada, we’re grateful for Ed Temple and the reasons he races on towards education. What will you do with your knowledge?