150 Profies: Rann Sharma

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Rann Sharma

Current role in the sector: Global Head, People Operations and Culture at WE

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector:  Eleven years.

Rann Sharma profile picture

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
I work in HR which can be a typical business function in many organizations but in my role at WE, my ‘work’ has taken me to visit our program communities in Kenya and India. Seeing young people, especially girls, access education and seeing their mothers become entrepreneurs through Me to We’s Artisans program was an incredible privilege and honour. When girls and women are empowered through education and economic opportunity, there is no limit on the possibilities open to a family. I remain humbled that I am able to use my career to change the world.

Describe your desk/workspace.
I admit that my desk is rather messy! However, WE’s offices are located in small Toronto community called Cabbagetown and our offices are in Victorian buildings. My office has a whiteboard and meeting space which makes for a great space to collaborate. To celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday, our team will be moving to our brand new WE Learning Centre which will be a hub for collaboration with students, educators and community members–we are open to the world and hope to welcome many visitors into our space.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I believe in an interdisciplinary reading list and there are many worth mentioning but here are some of my favourites:

  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  • The End of Fundraising by Jason Saul
  • Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Marc and Craig Kielburger
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
As a woman of colour in a leadership position, I am passionate about inclusion and ensuring that issues of power, privilege and gender are at the forefront of policy creation and political dialogue.  Women, especially women of colour, continue to face systemic barriers and I hope that by being in the role that I am in, I am able to lend my voice and perspective towards building a more inclusive society. As a new mom, I am especially interested in seeing how the sector will foster civic engagement in Canada for the next generation.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com

Rann Sharma is the Global Head of People Operations and Culture for WE, working across Canada, India, Kenya, the US and the UK. She has ensured the recognition of WE (formerly Free The Children) as Canada’s Top Employer for Young People and Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures in 2013 and 2016.

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