Mentoring Got Me Where I am Today

Only few can honestly say, “I am where I am because of no one else!” I can’t make that statement and am happy to share I have had the great fortune of being mentored throughout my life by amazing people.

First, there is my family. My dear Godmother inspired me to think deeply what I truly wanted out of life and go after it. She created ruckus at her Dutch home in the 1950s to become a nurse whereas my grandparents didn’t belief she could and should have a business career.

My “Tante Elly” (Aunt Elly) had a life-long career in health care by not giving up and seeking mentors during her training years and later on the floor. As the Executive Director of a retirement home in 1983 she created one of the first holistic intakes in the health sector. She taught me the importance of asking questions and challenging the status quo; even at a time when you feel intimidated as apparently everyone else around you “gets it”.

Second, I was lucky working with a manager who considered work to be fun. If you didn’t have fun, he ensured his team members, “you’d better make it fun.” When I joined his team, he challenged me to take up new roles and grow in leadership. His advice was as sound as my Godmother’s, “Find a colleague with whom you can bounce ideas off. Nothing is silly in a brainstorm phase; keep looking at the issue at hand from different perspectives and the solution will present itself.“

When I went on to live in India for several years, I wanted a mentor to help me filter information with a cultural sensitive lens. As I was lost at times during my first year about what was happening around me, a trained anthropologist and colleague came to my rescue.

We spent many hours chatting about the disruption I caused, unconsciously and intentionally. Given that my upbringing was vastly different, my behaviour was often alien to my co-workers. In return, their methodologies and reasoning had deep thought and traditions woven into their responses I was unaware about.

Without his guidance I would not have been able to contribute as much as I did to the passionate non-profit organization I worked at. The team I worked with became stronger collaborators and is since using a more participatory approach into serving its customers.

I encourage everyone to find a mentor to help you move further in your career and enjoy new friendships and advice that will encompass more than your career.

 

About Our Guest Blogger

As Founder of Kaleidoscope and Business Mentor, Lisette Andreyko works with start-ups on gaining strategic focus. She is passionate about women in business, and personal and leadership development in start-ups. You can find her on Kaleidoscope, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

#CharityTuesday – Habitat for Humanity Durham

In the charitable and non-profit sectors, it can sometimes be easier to see the needs of people around the world than it is to see the needs in our own backyard.

Through recent involvement with Habitat for Humanity Durham, we have learned that in our own backyard of Durham Region there is an overwhelming need for affordable and stable housing for families.

For example, according to one of its event websites there are 3900 children who are without a stable home, meaning that they are living in hotels, with friends, “couch-surfing”, or in unreliable homes. This is not a need in a third-world country – this is a need right where we live.

Thankfully, this need is what drives Habitat for Humanity Durham, a charity which is set up in such a way that every donation, and every home built and owned, cyclically continues to give over and over again. This is done through a type of revolving fund for humanity.

Simply put, the revolving fund for humanity sees that:

“the homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments go into a fund that is used to build more homes. The more homes that exist, the more cash flow there is available for further building. This Revolving Fund for Humanity fuels exponential growth in the number of Habitat for Humanity houses that are built over time.”

So how can you help?!

Easy. Here are some practical, tangible, and affordable ways that you can contribute to your own community:

Better yet, if you’re like my wife who can’t put a hammer to a nail, buy tickets for and attend the charity’s upcoming gala suitably themed, “In Our Own Backyard”. All of the money raised at this event will go to finishing the final phase of Habitat for Humanity Durham’s “CentreTowne” build.

Considering that Christmas is only a couple of weeks away, why not surprise family, friends, and clients with tickets to this sure-to-be-fun gala and give a gift that will indeed keep on giving!

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – The Daily Bread Food Bank

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” rings the infamous Christmas song, sang by Andy Williams.

Although for some people, this wonderful time of year represents a time of worry, anxiety, and stress as tasks like feeding one’s family become increasingly difficult.

With this in mind, we uphold the work of the  Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, ON for this #CharityTuesday blog post.

According to its website, the Daily Bread’s vision is: “Fighting to end hunger in our communities.”

What is especially admirable about the work of the Daily Bread Food Bank is that the organization not only meets the need of those who are hungry, but it also is working proactively to reduce poverty and end hunger. Thus, its mission is three-fold:

  • Providing food and resources for hungry people.
  • Mobilizing greater support, involvement and action.
  • Creating social change to reduce poverty through research, education and advocacy.

The need for food to feed families is an increasingly overwhelming need. Consider the following statement about the scope of work that the Daily Bread Food Bank conducts within the Greater Toronto Area:

A leader in the fight against hunger, Daily Bread Food Bank distributes food through over 200 food banks and meal programs across Toronto. Daily Bread provides food for an average of 63,000 visits a month to food banks and prepares more than 3000 nutritious meals in its kitchen that are sent out every week to shelters, hostels and neighbourhood meal programs. We are the largest provider of food relief in the GTA.

As you consider giving this season, perhaps to a food bank, please try to remain open-minded and non-judgmental about who uses and needs such services. You would be surprised to learn of the colleagues, neighbours, and network connections who have had to use a food bank at some point in their lives due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances.

With this in mind, please consider donating up one or two extra canned goods every time you go grocery shopping to place in your community’s food bank collection box, because it is not just the major holiday seasons in which food is needed. Even if you don’t live in the GTA, you can easily give to your own local food bank, often times right in your own grocery store.

Could you imagine how easily we could end hunger if we collectively gave away a few extra canned goods during our weekly grocery trips?

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Covenant House Toronto

The first snowfall happened this weekend, so what happens in this kind of weather to the homeless youth who sleep on Toronto’s streets?

Well, they continue to sleep on the streets despite the damp and bitter cold conditions.

With this in mind, on this #CharityTuesday we desire to raise awareness about youth homelessness and how Covenant House Toronto is responding to this need night after night.

According to its website, Covenant House’s mission is to “serve suffering children of the street, and protect and safeguard all children…with absolute respect and unconditional love.” (para. 1)

Unquestionably, Covenant House does indeed serve youth who are homeless in such tangible ways including:

  • A Crisis Centre
  • Job Centre
  • Onsite Highschool
  • Runaway Prevention
  • BMO Financial Group Health Centre
  • Job Training Programs
  • Support Services
  • CIBC Rights of Passage (Communal Living)
  • Mental Health Programs

More so, Covenant House does an overwhelmingly excellent job of destroying the stigma surrounding youth homelessness by debunking myths and stereotypes. For example, consider the following “Facts & Stats” from Covenant House’s website which helps reinforce the concept that indeed “no kid chooses to live on the streets”:

  • It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto during any given year and as many as 2,000 on a given night.
  • It is estimated that the mortality rate of homeless youth is up to 40 times the mortality rate of housed youth with primary causes of death identified as suicide and drug overdose.
  • Abuse and neglect are the two major reasons why youth leave home. Studies show 70 percent of homeless youth have suffered some form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
  • 50 percent of homeless youth come from middle- and upper-income families (para. 1).

When youth become homeless, they don’t all automatically end up sleeping on street grates or in doorways. In fact, they end up staying in a variety of places.

A 1999 survey found that:

  • 60% of street youth are staying in one of Toronto’s youth shelters.
  • 25% staying in an apartment (92% were staying with friends and ‘couch surfing’).
  • 15% staying on the street of which 4% were living in squats, and 9% in parks, alleys, and doorways (para. 4).

People become homeless for a wide variety of reasons – loss of a job, marital breakdown, mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction. But when it comes to youth and children, the reasons tend to revolve around the family (para. 3).

If this cause tugs at your heart strings, considering donating. After all, Covenant House affirms that “83% of our revenue comes from donations from individuals. Because of people like you, our doors are open 24 hours a day to youth 16 to 24 regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation or the reason they need help” (para. 7).

And if you really want to know what happens in this kind of winter weather to the homeless youth who sleep on Toronto’s streets, consider participating in Covenant House’s annual fundraising event called “Sleep Out” in which business executives will sleep on the city’s streets “with only a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard, [and have] a glimpse into the harsh realities of life faced by homeless youth” (para. 3).

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

A Headhunter’s Dirty Little Secret No. 1 – Poaching Candidates

Want to know a recruiter’s secret about luring top-notch executive talent from other organizations?

Timing.

Believe it or not, the Fall season is one of the most ideal times to hire executive talent for a charitable, non-profit, or social-profit organization.

Why is this the best time of year to hire? Consider the following:

  • Those who come to the realization they are ready for a career transition often do so once they return to work and daily routines after a leisurely summer vacation.
  • In many people’s minds, the start of the New Year is a logical time to start a new job.
  • The Fall season initiates the beginning of networking events and seasonal parties when natural interaction among professionals occur, making it a great time for people to organically talk about and promote an opportunity at your organization among their respective networks.
  • There is a natural breaking point in this sector around the Christmas and New Year holidays, thereby making it a great time for executives to resign and take a week or two off before starting a new role.
  • It is easier for executives to disengage from their present charitable organizations at the start of the New Year because most of the high-volume fundraising work is over after the Christmas season.

With this in mind, during this season when your executive recruiter goes tapping your favourite executives from other organizations on the shoulder on your behalf about a career move, you may find there is an overwhelming allure to a leadership role within your organization.

Problem is, many leaders in the charitable, non-profit, and social-profit sectors fail to maximize this time of year. Instead of attempting to secure talent and solidify a strong leadership team in the months leading up to the New Year, organizations focus on the panic and immediacy of end-of-year fundraising.

As a result, most searches for executive talent are pushed off until the start of the New Year, when your most desirable executive candidates have already secured roles elsewhere.

But don’t just take our word for it. Consider the data released by Executives Online in July of 2014, which affirms that January is:

third from the bottom of the twelve months in terms of new jobs. What makes January even less advantageous to the job-seeker is the New Year’s resolution effect: Candidate registrations surge in January, which may make it harder for yours to stand out. The ratio of new candidates to new jobs – a figure we’ll call the Search Competition Index or SCI – is highest in January of any month, by a considerable margin (24% higher than the next month). Too much noise in the market also makes the employers’ and recruiters’ task of selecting the right people for shortlist and hire more difficult. It may be better, when hiring, to wait for a calmer month. (Beitel, 2014, para. 3)

If you really want to be a charitable, non-profit, or social-profit organization that is truly set apart from others in the sector, why not start by growing and strengthening your executive leadership team when no one else is doing the same.

Reference:

Beitel, Anne. (2014, July 31). Data reveal best time of year to hire, find a job. Retrieved from: http://www.executivesonline.fr/en/blog/2014/07/31/data-reveal-

best-time-year-hire-find-job/

#CharityTuesday – SickKids Hospital

After taking a hard hit to the boards in a hockey game on Saturday night, our friends’ son was airlifted to SickKids Hospital for fear of neurological damage.

Thankfully, he’s fine aside from a broken wrist.

Still, there is deep sense of relief knowing that the best healthcare for kids is within our reach.

That said, SickKids Hospital is more than just the best healthcare, though.

For example, not too long ago, a candidate engaged in a search process with us shared about how her own child was admitted to sick kids for months. She spoke so highly of the genuine care, support, and service she and her family received by the staff of the hospital while they were there. She said to us, that every year when SickKids makes their annual donor calls, she writes a cheque because she truly does believe in the holistic mission of SickKids Hospital.

According to the SickKids Hospital website, the mission of SickKids is to:

provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health.

Not only does SickKids Hospital provide medical care, but it also offers a wide range of programs and services to support children and families in many other ways. For example, the programs and services offered by SickKids Hospital include:

  • Accommodations
  • Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Child and Family-Centered Care
  • Child Life
  • Children’s Council
  • Creative Arts Therapy
  • Epilepsy Classroom
  • The Play Park

A charity of this magnitude, however, still relies on donations and gifts both big and small. The ways in which you can give are:

On this #CharityTuesday, consider the ways in which you or your business may be able to support this worthy cause that it is indeed making a difference within the daily lives of families.

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Frontier

Social good.

Some may even call it social impact. (Yes, subtle shoutout to new friend, Amanda Minuk of Bmeaningful)

No matter what you call it, social-profits are a big part of the success of charities and non-profit organizations in Canada.

For today’s #CharityTuesday post, we’d like to highlight one such company that is doing social good and having social impact; that is Frontier.

Simply put, “Frontier helps charities through efficient and effective fundraising best practices.”

Really, what Frontier does is not simple at all. It’s that seemingly complicated-data-digital-media-online-marketing-strategy-coding-website-html-leaves-me-scratching-my-head-the-website-ends-in-“io”-what-does-that-even-stand-for-technology-stuff that they do; it just happens to be second-nature to Frontier’s team!

For example, these folks are the brains behind the retargeting or remarketing approach to targeting your website visitors, which basically reminds people as they surf the web about your charity and cause. It’s a touchpoint moment between your charity and your donors, that you didn’t even have to schedule in your calendar.

And it works too.

According to Ben Johnson’s blog post entitled, “Remarketing: How it Can Work for Your Charity” remarketing is “an incredibly useful tool for nonprofits, because users in certain industries who have already visited your site are up to 70% more likely to ‘convert’ (make a purchase/donation or sign up for a newsletter) according to a study by Criteo.”

Frontier is a company seeking to engage in social good in order to make a social impact through your charity or non-profit. Consider reaching out and adding Ben Johnson to your network, follow the Frontier blog, or check out what his team might be able to do for your charity’s fundraising needs.

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – re: charity Blog

Today we turn the #CharityTuesday proverbial table.

Instead of focusing on an audience of donors and the worthy causes to which they can give, we will instead focus on an audience of nonprofit professionals, and the dynamic resources that are available to them.

This idea came to me on Thanksgiving Monday as I read a post written by Brady Josephson of the re: charity blog, which happens to be our #CharityTuesday honouree this week!

Specifically, the post I was reading was entitled “Millennials Changing Philanthropy” and it focused on the philanthropic characteristics of those born in the years of 1980-2000. In particular, one shocking characteristic of these Millennials is that they are said to be transferred $30 trillion of wealth in the next 30 years.

(I had to write out the word “trillion” because, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to represent that number numerically. Too. Many. Zeros.)

The best part about the re: charity blog, however, is not just a “fun fact” producing publication. No, rather the opposite. For example, the blog post I read offered insights into what to expect from Millennials in regards to giving trends, motivation for giving, and expectations for direct involvement in impacting change.

Truly, this blog and its writer are worthy of your time as a professional working in the charitable space. You will continue to be challenged, moved, and encouraged within your work after having read his posts. Consider starting with some of the following posts that we’ve personally enjoyed and were inspired by:

Best part about Brady and his posts – it’s free. If there is indeed a way for you to “give back” to the re: charity blog, it would be to follow, subscribe to, share, tweet, comment on, and like his posts so that your network, too, can benefit from keen and thoughtful insight into the charitable sector.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – President’s Choice Children’s Charity

In the spirit of #CharityTuesday we take time to admire the support that the President’s Choice Children’s Charity provides, not only for worthy nonprofits, but also for individual families.

First, consider the motto of President’s Choice Children’s Charity, which is “Helping kids do anything”.

With this in mind, it certainly makes sense that President’s Choice Children’s Charity would support one of our favourite causes – children’s nutrition programs. Through both Breakfast for Learning and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, President’s Choice Children’s Charity is able to provide grants for nutrition programs.

The work that this charity does that really tugs at our heart strings, however, is supporting families with children who have been diagnosed with a disability.

According to its website, President’s Choice Children’s Charity: “receive[s] applications from families whose children have been diagnosed with a range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and various developmental delays.”

Once again, this charity makes it easy to see how even the smallest gift can make the biggest difference in the life of a child. For example, according to its website on ‘How You Can Help”:

  • $2 helps a child to eat a healthy breakfast
  • $50 helps pay for one hour of speech therapy
  • $100 helps pay for specialized equipment
  • $200 helps pay for a week of camp

Best part is, you can easily get others involved in the cause by hosting an event of your own that will raise funds for the charity! Whether it’s a paintball challenge, a 5K run, a cook-off, or a hockey league, you can find creative ways to make giving a fun even that engages your friends, family, network, and community!

Consider how you or your business could make a tangible impact in the life of a child through President Choice Children’s Charity!

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Durham Community Foundation

Living in the GTA means having access to a very large hub of charitable and nonprofit organizations.

It would be easy to focus on some of the larger nonprofits based in the metropolis, however, being mindful of the needs on one’s own community is a core value for us.

In our community, which is part of the Durham Region, there are many worthy not-for-profits doing important work. Thankfully, there is support for these organizations through the social good the Durham Community Foundation provides.

According to its website, the Durham Community Foundation “builds community through investments, leadership, and philanthropy.”

Truly it is building community.

For example, folks in the community looking to leave a personal legacy or to memoralize a family member, can set up a fund that can benefit a local cause. While the deadline for submitting a grant proposal was just last week, this organization accepts proposals from nonprofit organizations on an annual basis and varies its focus to be all encompassing to Durham’s charities.

Additionally, Durham Community Foundation grows and supports leadership through events such as its upcoming Philanthropy Forum, which is entitled “Be Inspired!” 

This forum, hosted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, will host leaders from Durham Region’s local nonprofits with the intention “to help charities come together, to learn, network and share experiences so that they could return to their workplace empowered with new knowledge and tools that would help them work smarter and achieve sustainability.”

Lastly, the foundation build philanthropy in the community, and not just through the legacy funds it sets up for those in the community to give year over year to worthy causes. It also promotes active philanthropy, through initiatives such as its upcoming “Random Act of Kindness Day”.

This philanthropic initiative purposes to:

  • To build a more caring community
  • To encourage the ‘pay it forward’ philosophy
  • To celebrate Random Act of Kindness Day® as a FUNraiser, not a fundraiser

While indeed foundations have the ability to contribute to the charitable space from a monetary perspective, some foundations such as the Durham Community Foundation are much more encompassing and provide much needed support to its surrounding community in a variety of ways.

Why not get involved in the foundation yourself? Could you or your company celebrate Random Act of Kindness Day together or sponsor an event? Might you be able to create a fund which will continue to give year to year to good work in the community? Consider how you could creatively support the foundation of your community to help leave a legacy.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

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