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Who Are Our Community Animators?

One of the keys to CSI’s magic is our Community Animator Program (CAP) and, specifically, the Community Animators themselves! Through this program, we’ve worked with more than 1,000 exceptional individuals who have each brought a little something different, and a little sparkle, to our spaces. And we’re so glad to have had them in our community, because we’ve learned that each and every one of them has some exceptional talents, skills, and experiences to offer the world!  

If you’re lucky, you’ve met some of our Animators in our spaces over the last 5 months. And if not, we’d love to introduce them to you! Read on to learn more about some of our Animators from the Spring/Summer 2023 cohort, and check out their variety of skills and interests to give you a snapshot.

Psst… 93% of the below Animators are looking for new employment and business opportunities. Trust us, you’d be lucky to have them on your team!

Amanda Clark

Mini elevator pitch: My career and experience is in corporate conference planning, event management, and project management in the training and development field. I am a single parent raising 2 teenagers and have experience in volunteering and community engagement in their schools and our community. I am the only child and caregiver of a mother living with dementia. I am currently involved and learning about the world of community animation and social innovation through CSI’s CAP Program. I hope to gain experience about social change and how I can best apply my skills and natural abilities to helping women and those who identify as women to overcome adversity and provide support to help them realize their potential.

The future I’m working towards… I am working towards a future where I can help to improve the lives of women who are suffering from partner abuse and have been marginalized by systemic oppression. I want to work in a community or organization where women can be supported and empowered through social support, social justice, and system change.

My CAP experience: CSI, has offered me a place outside of my home and role as a full time at home single parent. I have developed many connections with a variety of members, CAP’s and staff and have learned from their knowledge and experiences. I have developed new skills (e.g. DEI training) and have come to understand the inner workings of social innovation and social change.

Angelina Ding

Mini elevator pitch: I have a background in social entrepreneurship, focusing on education equality and mental health in China. My main strengths lie in project management and business development. Currently, I am exploring my skills in data science and social science research, as well as taking on the role of Community Animator in CSI. In the long run, I hope to work in a think tank that focuses on migration and food security.

The future I’m working towards… I am working towards a future where gender will not be a reason to put women and LGBTQ individuals into financial insecurity. I am also striving towards a future where everyone has access to healthy food. Additionally, I am working towards a future where people are free to choose their own life and identity.

My CAP experience: When I joined the CAP program, I was in the darkest moment of my life. My original plan to attend grad school in the US was disrupted by a financial issue my family faced back in China. As a result, I decided to leave my leadership role in the social enterprise I founded in China before fully burning out. As a post-graduate work permit holder in Canada, I also faced systemic challenges in finding a full-time job.

My favourite part about this program is that I met a community that values my skills, strengths, and personality, regardless of my background. As someone who has overcome barriers and trauma, the welcoming and curious culture at CSI gave me a sense of belonging in the uncertainty and hope to continue on my social innovation journey.

Anjum Chagpar

Mini elevator pitch: My work on climate justice began with grassroots community organizing and now includes consulting with other organizations to centre both social and climate justice in their strategies. I have deep experience in human-centred design, strategic foresight and behavioural science which I’ve applied for the last 20 years to health system innovation. I’m now focusing on designing and spreading climate action initiatives developed by surfacing the wealth of adaptation wisdom latent within marginalized communities.

The future I’m working towards… I actually just started an organization focused on visioning and realizing the many possible good futures that are possible (goodfutures.ca). For me, all good futures honour our planet as a living female organism – our mother, and recognize that we are each others relations.

My CAP experience: The CAP program has helped me hone my vision for my work through meeting so many interesting people and have so many interesting conversations.

Athena Lee

Mini elevator pitch: I worked as a UX/UI Design specialist for major software companies for many years. I’m evolving my skills from writing tech papers to being an aspiring book author focusing on my unique cultural heritage. I want to continue to combine my tech and artistic skills by being a bridge for my heritage and sharing that with others. Interested in augmented reality? Let’s talk!

The future I’m working towards… To be a cultural bridge that brings people of different cultures together- that we are not that different and we share so many amazing similarities! We just have to open our eyes and heart!

My CAP experience: The Community Animator Program has given me the amazing energizing opportunity of networking and honing my dormant social skills with amazing people through seemingly weekly interactions. It’s given me a renewed drive to re-think what I want to do next and I know that help is there and all I have to do is ask and reach out.

Ben Tory-Pratt

Mini elevator pitch: With a background in Mechanical Engineering & Product Development, I’m focused on Industrial Design to make products that have real value, not just ones that work.

The future I’m working towards… I’m working towards a world where less is more.

My CAP experience: Hearing the stories of how people in CSI came to do what the interesting work they do always inspires me and reminds me you never know where you will end up.

Betsy Z

Mini elevator pitch: With several years of experience in administration in high-end fashion, I’m looking to excel more in data and business analytics. P.S. I’m also looking to become a tattoo artist on the side as well!

The future I’m working towards… I want to work toward a future where people are treated like human, and not parts of a machine, especially in workplaces.

My CAP experience: I get to improve my communication skills while having a safe space to figure out directions in life. CSI is the best!

Daniel M

Mini elevator pitch: I have worked as the lead designer for Toronto-based nonprofits. I joined the Community Animator Program at CSI to expand my networking and outreach skills. Now, I am looking to bring my experiences to the hospitality industry.

The future I’m working towards… I am working towards a future of food security for all byway of hyper-local cuisine that relieves pressure from the global food supply chain.

My CAP experience: The Community Animator Program has allowed me to expand my network, which has been invaluable. Through CSI I have met mentors, friends, and professionals who work in my industry all of whom have helped my upskill and plan for future success.

Eddy Lee

Mini elevator pitch: Worked in sustainability, permaculture and psychology now venturing into community engagement.

The future I’m working towards… I am working towards arts education and community engagement for climate action.

My CAP experience: We can create themes for the community rituals like the Salad Club.

Léa

Mini elevator pitch: I am working as a gender specialist in the international development sector for the past few years. I am interested in further developing my skills in communication, project management and community animation, and I am open to new job opportunities in my work area!

The future I’m working towards… I want to see a future in which equality is a standard and not a goal anymore.

My CAP experience: The Community Animator Program helped me to develop my teamwork, community engagement, and project management skills.

Noah Batacan

Mini elevator pitch: I’m currently a student for Arts Management but pursuing Marketing. I have skills in promoting on social media, and I’m currently expanding my network and building my skills in project management and promotion where I can work in events in the community. I’m looking for work if anyone can help out!

The future I’m working towards… I want to see a future where Filipino people have a say in the community, where we put them first and have fun festivals where people can recognize the arts and culture.

My CAP experience: The program right now helps with networking and meeting new people.

Ritika

Mini elevator pitch: I have worked in the energy and waste sector to implement sustainable policies, for the past 5 years. I have a Masters in Environmental Policy and Management from Lund University, Sweden, and am pursuing a Graduate Diploma in CSR and Sustainability at the University of Toronto. I’m always looking to collaborate with people and work on sustainability initiatives!

The future I’m working towards… I aim to make a positive impact through my work and want to see a future where we put people and planet first.

My CAP experience: As a Community Animator, it gives me a chance to connect with new people from diverse walks of life and backgrounds working at CSI. I enjoy being on my feet and solving problems, to keep the operations running. Each day is full of unexpected learning, be it brewing coffee or helping out with an event!

Sarah Tan

Mini elevator pitch: I am a Singaporean Exchange Student who is studying data analytics and will be here in Canada for the year! Currently, I am interning as a software developer for a sticker printing company. When I get bored, I doodle a lot. Looking to find more friends at CSI, writing stories and learning more about social entrepreneurship in the future!

The future I’m working towards… I want to see a future where everyone stops running the rat race and learns how to take a break to smell the roses; I am working towards a future where all feel included and loved as they are; I want to see a future where everyone sees the best in each other and themselves.

My CAP experience: The Community Animator Program is helping me to hone my people skills, such as teaching me to question my bias and be more sensitive of the tone and words I used when talking to others.

Tolga Ay

Mini elevator pitch: I worked as a sales and marketing manager in consumer goods sector. Created brands, executed campaigns in every level of advertising. I also managed sales teams internationally. Recently I founded a meal delivery, catering, and event centre business which is closed due to the pandemic. I am looking for a management position in branding and sustainable consumer goods projects.

The future I’m working towards… I am working towards a future where everyone is learning to be a better consumers, educated to consume less and consume smart in order to create a sustainable human civilization.

My CAP experience: This program helped me try and perfect my skills in communication in the workplace, teamwork, presentation, problem solving and event management. Also, I gained new skills in social innovation, sustainability and eco-friendly business models.

Vishal

Mini elevator pitch: I’ve worked in academic publishing for the past 6 years: everything from proposal writing to editing and journal publication! I’m currently doing my PhD in prosthetics and learning as much as I can about digital technologies/additive manufacturing!

The future I’m working towards… I want to increase access to high-quality healthcare, particularly in remote and resource-deprived regions. I believe that everyone has the right to live in dignity, comfort, and security.

My CAP experience: Community animation has helped me improve my project management skills and helped me practice networking/engagement!

We told you this cohort was talented! With a wide array of skills, talents, and interests, we’ve been so lucky to have them working with us for the last several months. 

Skills & Talents

Interests & Hobbies

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