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: Coralie D’Souza
Current role in the sector: Volunteer Role: Co-Chair of the Toronto Public Library Foundation’s New Collection Committee. Professional Role: Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, at Ryerson University.
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
Each and every week, I would visit my local library with my parents and sister, and would take out as many books as I could carry. The untethered and unlimited access to other people’s stories, knowledge, and experiences have shaped me to my core. It was in a library that I first came across a flyer which led to my first volunteer experience. At 16 years old I joined a Youth-In-Action team run by the Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel, teaching other young people why diversity and social inclusion were key to living. That volunteer job later turned into a summer job, event planning for the Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel.
Describe your desk/workspace.
Lists, lists and more lists! My workspace is relatively neatly organized, with personal accents – including a vision board (tucked in the corner, for just me).
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I’m reading the Wealth of Humans by Ryan Avent about how digital technologies are changing every corner of the economy, from news organizations to the not-for-profit sector. They’re changing the way we do business, but also changing our offerings. For instance, through New Collection’s annual fundrasier Hush Hush, we’re focusing our fundraising efforts on making new technologies available at libraries – because digital literacy (the ability to use technological tools, understand how they work and, at the highest level, the aptitude to create new technological tools and services) is key to our citizens, particularly our young people, having the relevant skills to participate in the economy of the future.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
While I work in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, I whole heartedly believe in the preservation and celebration of our arts and culture within our cities. From libraries to music halls, I believe technology will enhance the organizations that help us build creative and prosperous cities, and ultimately our country. I believe that digital literacy will allow us, and the generations that come after us to admire what we’ve worked so hard to build, preserve and celebrate – whether it be great books, an engaging musical or a breathtaking ballet.
Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org