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: Eyob G. Naizghi
Current role in the sector: Executive Director of MOSAIC, an organization serving immigrant, newcomer and refugee communities in Greater Vancouver.
Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: Almost 40 years.
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first job, after completing my first degree with the intent of pursuing development studies, was managing small scale mechanized farming with a consortium. The work involved building trust-based relations with the community, understanding and leveraging the role of the village elders to introduce change, hiring local people, in particular women, in addition to the fiduciary responsibilities around HR and finance and donor relations. Although it was a short time, the impact the program was making on people became the foundation and lure for my passionate commitment to my work in the third sector economy.
Describe your desk/workspace.
I have a U-shaped desk with the essential tools on top—I like my independence. My shelves are covered with reading materials, some references, some project files and some reading books—all the things that keep me interested, distracted, innovative, generative, strategic and risk averse. I have my favourite Harvard Business Review journals on selected topics to remind me when dealing with challenging situations. The top of my desk is lined with files that are work-in-progress and require attention to manage risk. Beside family pictures I have a picture frame with a former Governor General.
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
There is nothing more strategic in personal growth than targeted engagement and networking with people that are influencers and thought leaders—they come from different sectors, but they intersect with the nonprofit sector. I also read books and research papers on trends in my sub-sector, and subscribe to magazines and research websites for tools and ideas. Reading evidence-based resource materials, print or web-based, is your source on the trends: public policy and community trends including changes in demographics, and best practices and tools to align one’s self with constant change. Reading corporate materials, like Harvard Business Review, keeps me challenged to learn new ways of managing the “business”.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
The non-profit sector is diverse in nature, but what is common in the sector is that we are mission-driven, and our strategic objectives/directions are influenced by our commitment to the vision. We are inspired to help others, hence we are driven to accomplish a lot with little. This raises the question of sustainability, burn-out, attraction and retention for succession of the next generation. We need to understand what drives younger generations in the workplace and we need to adapt to different ways of doing “business”, be bold to learn from the for-profit sector.
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