During a lunch and learn session with CanadaHelps, a trusted charity that has been supporting all Canadian charities by providing equal access to effective technology and education, Sampada Kukade, our Director of Employer Engagement & Partnerships, Program Marketing and Program Design and Community Partnerships, shared her insights on how Skills for Change has been impacting the lives of immigrants, newcomers and refugees for last 40 years by providing equal training and employment opportunities.
Sampada began the session by delving into the roots of an organization that opened its doors in 1982 as an immigrant and refugee women’s organization, which pioneered programs that respond to shifting immigration and workplace trends that lead to employment. And now, 40 years later, the Agency has evolved into one of the leading comprehensive service providers for immigrant, refugee, and underrepresented populations in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.
Sampada also shared her experience as a thought leader and defined how transformational leadership takes place at Skills for Change, which helps the management to strategize on developing innovative programming and keeping a lens of intersectionality as top of mind as we build our wrap-around supports, including mentorship and mental health.
Skills for Change has been at the forefront of continuously evolving needs of immigrants, refugees and underrepresented groups, through continuous labour market analysis and developing opportunities for collective learning and knowledge mobilization.
Sampada then shifted the topic to the pandemic, describing how new immigrants and equity-seeking groups served by Skills for Change were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, but our expertise in being the first responders to such situations helped us set up efficient virtual service delivery; this shift has led SfC to commence our journey with digital transformation so that we can create more value in what we do. CanadaHelps and Mastercard Foundation have supported this transformation through their pilot Charity Growth Academy – A free digital transformation program to help Canadian charities to grow.
Sampada concluded the session by offering advice on how charities can get started on their digital transformation journey, noting that it can be a very daunting process, but can lead to greater impact. “The key to our success to date with digital transformation has been through process mapping to identify the different workflows across the Agency…and facilitate a smooth deployment of digital tools and adoption by staff. In addition, process mapping has allowed for our organization’s leadership team to better understand how our work fits as a whole, with the spirit of collaboration.”