A return to servant leadership

Jason King

When Jason King walks into the office at Some Other Solutions (SOS) every morning, it feels like he has found his professional home. He is the organization’s relatively new Executive Director, having assumed the role back in May. Jason was our guest on IMPACT on August 29th; he shared his somewhat circuitous professional journey and how it brought him to SOS.

Jason was born and raised in Newfoundland. His parents were people who gave of their time and talents to their neighbours and the community.

“I grew up in a home where my parents believed in service. They didn’t teach it, they showed it.”

Jason started out as a youth pastor before being asked to become a senior pastor for a rural Newfoundland church. That early work in the faith community led to seminary school, a Bachelor of Theology, and a significant career with the Salvation Army.

After a lot of moving around from posting to posting, Jason pull up stakes from the Salvation Army +and moved his family to Fort McMurray to become the store manager at Canadian Tire. While moving into the retail sector was a slight deviation from his life’s purpose, the decision brought him to our community, provided stability for his family, and helped strengthen his skills as a leader.

Jason King on IMPACT

“All around, my time at Canadian Tire helped me develop more as a business person,” he said. “I was able to focus on things that I never paid much attention to while in the social realm.”

Eventually, Jason felt the calling to return to community work. An opportunity came up with the local housing authority that provided a re-entry point to the social profit sector.

“Transitioning into Wood Buffalo Housing, it felt that I was stepping back into who I am,” he shared. “Serving the community, serving the people, I found who I was again.”

During his time at that organization he filled a number of different roles ranging from Program Manager to Acting CEO.

In the post-fire Fort McMurray he became a part of the Social Recovery Task Force.

Jason King in studio

“It was a privilege to sit at that table because it was all about the people,” he said. “It was about bringing them home, and helping them re-establish life in Fort McMurray.”

From the mission of providing stable and affordable housing Jason seized an opportunity to move into a leadership role with Some Other Solutions back in May.

“What really drew me to Some Other Solutions was their mission and how they approach what they do,” he said. “It’s all about empowering people and building their capacity to serve themselves, but also serve others.”

One of the key services offered by Some Other Solution is a 24-hour crisis line (780-743-4357). If people reach a point in their lives where they need someone to talk to, volunteers are trained and available to be that compassionate listening ear. There has been a sharp rise in the number of people accessing this resource.

“Between January and this date last year, we fielded 240 calls,” shared King. “Between January of this year and today, we have fielded over 500 calls.”

That dramatic increase in crisis line calls reinforces Jason’s belief that he is exactly where he needs to be.

“To wake up every day and go into work where you’re part of an organization that is interested in people, helping people be the best that they can be…it’s a privilege. We’re here to help. And if we don’t have the answer internally, we will find some other solutions.”

To listen to the entire IMPACT interview with Jason, click here.


Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online (www.middleagebulge.com) and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.