After a decade of leading Megaphone Magazine, executive director Sean Condon is moving on.
Announced through a Facebook post on Wednesday, Condon expressed his mixed emotions about the decision to take on a new job with Vancity Community Foundation.
"I thought initially I was just going to bang [the post] out, but as I was doing it I was pretty overwhelmed with my own emotions and a really great sense of pride for Megaphone vendors and how much they've meant to me over the past 10 years," Condon said.
Condon led the publication through the transition from the street newspaper Street Corner to the monthly magazine it is now, sold by people who are experiencing homelessness or are struggling with poverty or mental illness.
Condon says the public can see first-hand the stigma and stereotypes around these people through their interactions with vendors.
"A lot of people are very intimidated by that or fearful about that… It's a really special and beautiful moment when someone stops to buy Megaphone off a vendor and gets to know them and forms this incredible relationship with them."
Opportunities for the homeless, marginalized
The vendors who sell Megaphone magazines operate under a social enterprise model where they buy the products up front — 75 cents for a magazine and $10 for a Hope in Shadows calendar.
They then get to keep the profit they make from selling the magazines for $2 and the calendars for $20.
"These vendors are essentially small business owners who have a spot in the city that they sell and they develop relationships with their customers," he said.
"In that way they're developing their business skills, their financial management and also their relationship and social skills."
At Vancity, a major donor to Megaphone, Condon will continue to flex his skills with the social enterprise model to build and strengthen other companies working under the same standard.
Operations manager Jessica Hannon will be taking the helm as executive director. Condon said the next big step for the publication in September will be an electronic purchasing app.
"So if you're not carrying cash on you, which a lot of us don't do anymore, you can still buy these products and help support the vendors through this app," he said.
With files from the CBC's On The Coast.
To hear the full interview listen to audio labelled Megaphone magazine lead moves on to new job with Vancity Community Foundation.