By Jesse Robitaille
After 13 years as executive assistant of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) plus another five with the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, Margaret Schulzke will retire from her roles effective July 1.
Held by Schulzke since 2006 and 2001, respectively, the positions will be taken over by Lee Ann Stewart, who has spent 20 years as the senior executive assistant to the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
“I decided to move forward into retirement so that I can give more time to the major values and interests in my life,” said Schulzke, who’s also a Fellow of The RPSC, adding “there’s always a need for volunteers; perhaps I’ll still be able to give a little help along the way.”
Born in Kent, England, Schulzke began a career as a legal secretary before spending a year in Toronto—an experience that changed the trajectory of her life.
Staying in Canada, she later applied for a part-time position at the Greene Foundation. After an interview with then-RPSC Secretary Harry Sutherland and Kenneth Rowe, she was hired in 2001.
Five years later, when The RPSC’s administrative work was brought in-house, Schulzke “offered to work an extra day each week” to take on that role in addition to her position with the Greene Foundation.
“I had already gained some philatelic experience and felt I could be of service to The Royal,” she added.
Over the years, Schulzke’s major roles and responsibilities included handling correspondence, phone calls and emails; membership applications; chapter insurance; database entries; and RPSC National Office reports for the society’s bimonthly journal, The Canadian Philatelist.
She also helped with inquiries from executive members and directors, preparations for the annual Royal convention and overseeing the “50-year club” committee, which recognizes and awards people with 50 years of continuous RPSC membership.
“Advances in technology over these years have made a significant difference,” said Schulzke, who added most advances are focused on updating systems and websites, including “far greater involvement with social media.”
“Exhibits are presented and displayed using new and creative methods. Expertization procedures have been enhanced. The energy and activity is very encouraging.”
While new collectors and those returning to the hobby after retirement – a common philatelic demographic – are continuing to join The RPSC, e-memberships “have now become a choice for many,” added Schulzke, who’s also a former treasurer of the Toronto Association of Philatelic Exhibitions.
She has also previously managed the office of the treasurer of the Federación Interamericana de Filatelia, a multi-national philatelic organization covering the Americas.
“Her wealth of knowledge and experience with society matters has helped us all along the way,” said RPSC President Ed Kroft. “We will all miss her pleasant and polite manner and her never-ending desire to assist. We welcome her replacement, Lee Ann Stewart, and look forward to a long working relationship with her.”
Schulzke leaves behind “20 years of providing very extensive administrative support to a number of organizations in our unusual hobby,” added Ted Nixon, chair and treasurer of the Greene Foundation.
“Margaret is always calm, organized and very patient in dealing with the wide variety of personalities she encounters among us all. She really has been the stable continuing presence for both the Greene Foundation and as the executive assistant for the RPSC also. We will truly miss her in these roles.”
LEE ANN STEWART
Stewart will succeed the role of executive assistant of both The RPSC and Greene Foundation following Schulzke’s retirement on July 1.
“She brings wonderful enthusiasm and solid modern office management skills to us,” said Nixon, of Stewart.
For more information about The RPSC, visit rpsc.org.