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!

#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!

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