Meet Lourdes Juan, Founder of Leftovers Foundation.

Lourdes Juan is a Calgary-based entrepreneur and Urban Planner, with a Masters in Environmental Design, who oversees dozens of staff and hundreds of volunteers at the diverse companies and non-profits she has founded including Soma Hammam & SpaHive DevelopmentsLeftovers Foundation and Fresh Routes. Shocked at how much unsold bread a single bakery in Calgary had at closing time, Lourdes founded Leftovers in 2012. Today, the large charity works with hundreds of Alberta restaurants, bakeries, and grocers to keep tons of edible food out of landfills annually, by repurposing it through partnerships with local businesses, or redirecting excess food to hungry Canadians who need it the most. Leftovers currently operates in Alberta and Manitoba with plans to expand globally.

 

My first job ever was… I was 14 and I started working at an architecture company. I did everything from making blueprints on an ammonia printing machine to gluing carpet samples on presentation boards.

I chose my career path because… For the Leftovers Foundation, I saw a lot of food about to go to waste and I was compelled to offer a solution. I wanted to help as much as I could and that meant mobilizing the community. 

When starting out, I wish I knew   that good things take time and that’s ok. Small steps each day add up to powerful strides. 

The part of my role that I love the most is… working with teams that are equally passionate about community work, people, and the planet. 

The biggest challenge of running a not-for-profit is… Non-profits have limited resources and the problems we tackle are huge, so even though we are making a difference, I wish we had the capacity to do more.

If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… how much I love Star Trek. 

My best advice from a mentor was…  Keep a close group of subject matter experts as mentors to help make decisions and problem solve. 

My advice for anyone who wants to build a not-for-profit is… Work alongside the community, listen first and solve problems together. Non-profit work should be the most collaborative work you ever do. 

One thing for-profit businesses could learn from the not-for-profit world is… how to contribute meaningfully to solve complex problems.

I stay inspired by… Being witness to community members working together. I love to see it! 

Success to me means… waking up excited to take on the day!

Meet Cindy Crowe, Executive Director of Blue Sky Community Healing Centre

Cindy Crowe is a band member of the Lake Helen First Nation, Robinson-Superior Treaty Area, located an hour East of Thunder Bay. In 2004, she launched her award-winning Indigenous consulting firm, Cindy Crowe Consulting, specializing in community liaison, engagement and development. In 2005, she founded the charity Blue Sky Community Healing Centre, which utilizes the principles of Indigenous worldviews, and encourages understanding and respect for all individuals through an open dialogue in an interactive learning environment. The multi-layered and comprehensive training sessions assist the participants to experience a safe environment to discuss these topics with ease and allow a sense of curiosity from the participants.

 

My first job ever was… working as playground supervisor in Val Caron, Ontario for two summers in a row. I can see now that my leadership skills and my great desire to include everyone in activities was already strong in my early teens.

I chose my career path becausemy heart desired to mentor people and illustrate the value of entrepreneurship. I have a gift that promotes individuals to be the truest versions of themselves. The vision of keeping the circle strong drives me to serve community.

When starting out, I wish I knew that listening to myself would have been the best thing that I could have done for myself and the people that I serve.

The part of my role that I love the most is… being me, leading by example, loving people openly, welcoming everyone into the circle, illustrating that if I can be successful – so can you!

The biggest challenge of running a not-for-profit is… keeping the faith that the financial matters will all work out.

If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that my greatest messages that provide my divine guidance come from Mother Earth, especially the birds and animals.

My best advice from a mentor was… always bring gifts with you when attending a new community or business i.e., bannock, amethyst, beaded jewelry, or other handmade items. It’s a show of respect for the people you are meeting for the first time.

My advice for anyone who wants to build a not-for-profit is… to follow their inner guidance and truly listen to themselves. That compass will always take them in the right direction.

One thing for-profit businesses could learn from the not-for-profit world is… there is great value in doing the work to benefit individuals rather than earning a profit.

I stay inspired by… ensuring that I am taking care of myself. I know that through self-care, my ancestors and descendants also benefit.

Success to me means… doing what I love and loving what I do. This isn’t a job. It’s a passion. Watching the impacts of our work on the youth and other individuals continues to drive me and recharges my batteries.

Meet Dr. Lloydetta Quaicoe, Founder & CEO of Sharing Our Cultures.

Dr.Lloydetta Quaicoe

Lloydetta Quaicoe is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sharing Our Cultures. She established the organization in 1999 in response to the findings of her research, “Psychosocial needs of new immigrant and refugee school children.” She holds a PhD in Education from the University of South Australia, Division of Education, Arts, and Social Sciences. Her areas of specialization are newcomer children’s education, acculturation, and belonging. She is passionate about providing opportunities for school children to be heard, seen, respected, and valued. In addition to being an award-winning leader, she is the creator, executive producer, and host of a multicultural television program on Rogers TV, the Chair of OMNI East Advisory Council for Ontario and Atlantic Provinces, and Co-Chair of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police NL Black Engagement Steering Committee. 

 

My first job ever was… with the national Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service. I was hired as a television announcer and read the news when the scheduled newscaster did not show up for work. Shortly after, I convinced the studio manager that I could produce and host a weekly television program, with children and for children, which I did for five years.  

I chose my career path because… I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and that made a positive impact on the lives of children and youth. I enjoy what I do, and I can do it for hours without getting bored or tired. The skills and experience that I gained hosting a children’s television program in Sierra Leone sparked my passion to continue working with school children, which I’m still doing today in Canada.

When starting out, I wish I knew… that the work would grow easier with time. Twenty years ago, developing networks in the community was challenging and time consuming. Now, I have leveraged those social networks and collaborative relationships with community leaders to increase the efficiency of my organization.

The part of my role that I love the most is… creating environments for school youth to nurture friendships and develop a sense of belonging. I am energized by conversations with youth as I encourage them to share their challenges and successes. I am inspired by observing newcomer youth overcome social isolation to develop self-confidence, friendships, and leadership skills.  

The biggest challenge of running a not-for-profit is… the lack of core funding. This leads to spending significant time writing proposals and the uncertainty of whether you will have sufficient funds to execute the necessary programs and projects as envisioned.

If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I like listening to Motown music and watching figure skating, even though I don’t know how to skate! Seriously, whenever someone shares with me that they are being treated unfairly or if I discover that they are experiencing systemic barriers, I feel compelled to help them find appropriate long-term solutions.

My best advice from a mentor was… “To your own self be true and you would not be false to anyone.” This has encouraged me to be my authentic self in my daily interactions. 

My advice for anyone who wants to build a not-for-profit is… to get lots of sleep before starting! Value the importance of building community networks and nurturing collaborative relationships.  

One thing for-profit businesses could learn from the not-for-profit world is… flexibility, inclusivity, and community connections. The lack of core funding that some not-for-profits experience fosters an environment of nimbleness and the need to rely on a variety of partners to be successful.  

I stay inspired by… the remarkable resilience of newcomer school youth I am privileged to work with every day.   

Success to me means… advocating for social change that results in positive outcomes for vulnerable individuals, particularly newcomer children and youth.