The power of innovating community

The power of innovating community

Posted On

Feb 13, 2019

Submitted By

The idea of what a “community” is has changed radically; geography has been completely thrown out the window. Connection and collaboration no longer requires being in the same boardroom or even living room. People are writing books together without meeting in person and setting up businesses across time zones.  As a culture, we have completely overhauled concepts like “mentorship” and “networking”.

Our founder Tonya Surman was an early adopter of the idea of “online community”. So it only makes sense that CSI would create and cultivate its own Online Community Membership. Since 2004, we have become the home-base — both online and offline — for thousands of smart, warm, and principled people.

For World Innovation Day (February 16!) we are celebrating some of the most innovative members of this innovative community, and learning how being part of that community has impacted their work.

Caryma Sa’d

Who she is:
Caryma’s life mantra is to learn a lot, play a lot, and care a lot. In her spare time, Caryma likes to watch professional wrestling, and pontificate about the law with her cats. She writes and tweets extensively about race, identity politics, and gender-based violence.

What she does:
Access to justice is Caryma’s raison d’être. A major component of Caryma’s current work involves advocacy with respect to human rights and social justice issues. She works closely with cannabis activists, educators, and entrepreneurs, as well as individual patients and recreational consumers. Her perspective on the intersection of law, politics, and racism underlying cannabis prohibition makes her a strong proponent of legalization and amnesty.

In her own words:
“The community here at CSI has helped me set up my law practice from the ground up. The listserv has connected me with a free filing cabinet, IT support, a bookkeeper, tickets to neat events— I wouldn’t have come as fast or as far without this network of good people.”

Keep up with Caryma:
You can follow Caryma on Twitter
__________________________

Chloe Doesburg

Who she is:
Chloe has always loved to explore, discover hidden gems, and hear stories about specific places, and she knows she’s not the only one.  Her mission is to connect local experts with an audience that’s seeking the uniquely local.

What she does:
Chloe took her love of site-specific stories and turned it into Driftscape (where she is the CEO). This mobile app provides a platform for local arts, culture and history organizations to share site-specific stories. Users can explore what’s around them and see places of interest, events and tours from a growing list of content partners – currently 27 and counting in Toronto alone.

By creating a platform where diverse stories can be shared, Driftscape hopes to inspire a greater understanding of the spaces we share and the people we share them with.

In her own words:
“My Online Membership helped me connect with this amazing community and learn about some fantastic programs I could participate in. Now our business is growing, and we’re hot desk members at CSI Annex. Connecting with the CSI Community definitely helped us grow.”

Keep up with Chloe!
You can follow Driftscape on Twitter and Instagram!

 

__________________________

Rudolf Janns

Who he is:
After spending a lot of time in new countries himself, Rudolf realized he doesn’t want to see anyone suffering from anxiety and stress because they are not used to living abroad.

What he does:
Rudolf helps Japanese newcomers to Toronto get settled, offering assistance with things like resumes and job searching, English tutoring, and connecting them with other Japanese people in the city. One of his classes involves using coffee culture as a vehicle for bettering English skills, with the goal of getting students proficient enough in language and barista skills to get a service job.

In his own words:
“Shortly after signing up for CSI’s online membership, I discovered connections and opportunities that I never would have known about before. I’ve since become a full member running a small social business, and I’m grateful to be in such a warm, vibrant community.”
__________________________

Dave Saraiva

Who he is:
Most kids got a bike when they were five, Dave got a computer. A lifelong nerd, Dave has always loved everything sci-fi, fantasy and tech. Books, movies, video games, board games it doesn’t matter. If it’s something the jock in an 90’s teen comedy would make fun of you for, it’s probably Dave’s jam.

What he does:
Donor Engine integrates every major feature nonprofits need in one seamless, intuitive, and easy to use package. With a pricing model that scales based on an organization’s size, we’re empowering charities large and small to get more out of their operational budget and focus on their goals!

In his own words:
I really love the CSI community. With so much bad behavior in the business community (profit being prioritized, late stage capitalism and all that), it’s great to be involved in a community of entrepreneurs who care about the social impact of their work. CSI is the perfect place to easily scale your needs. The online community membership was very inexpensive, and it connected us with a community of like-minded individuals. Now that we’re growing our team, we’ve been able to easily transition to a space-based membership that is also affordable, and can grow with us as we do. You will not find anything of the same caliber anywhere else.

Keep up with Dave:
You can follow Dave on Twitter!
__________________________

Andrea Fanjoy

Who she is:
Education is Andrea’s driving passion. Lucky for her, exciting things are underway in the profession and she’s riding the wave. Student service and leadership have always loomed large in her vision for an optimal school experience, and youth entrepreneurship has recently joined their rank. Her experience as Assistant Head, Academics at Kingsway College School makes clear that students have vast reserves of untapped potential and she has joined her colleagues on a mission to unleash it.

What she does:
Andrea is part of a project to design an independent secondary school that distinctly offers what students need to thrive at school and lifelong. It will invite them to leverage their passions and talents to enrich their learning. It will connect students with external experts and partner with organizations in the GTA for the value they bring to student learning. It will challenge students to exercise leadership in their learning, and support them as they begin having an authentic impact on their corner of the world.

In her own words:
“The CSI community is an inspiring reminder that there are infinite ways to make the world better, and that a large, growing, change-making community is doing just that. As an educator dedicated to developing student leaders, I’m grateful to know I’m part of this community and that I can connect this wealth of knowledge and experience with students, ready to be inspired and join their ranks.”

Keep up with Andrea:
You can follow Andrea on Twitter, and read her blog!
__________________________

Nesh Pillay

Who she is:
As the Newcomers Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library, Nesh works with new immigrants to bring their startup ideas to life. She is a former journalist who covered international advertising and marketing as a founding reporter of The Drum’s New York team. Her secret weapon is having learned the in’s and out’s of marketing, PR and branding from “the other side. “She calls herself the “Robin Hood” of PR and believes that empathy can fix the world.

What she does:
Nesh is the CEO and founder of Press Pillay, a digital communications agency dedicated to giving back. They help grow startups, non-profits and lifestyle-tech brands that have integrated social responsibility into their core values.Our specialties include storytelling and Public Relations, social branding and management, and content planning & creation. They are making the world a better place, one campaign at a time.

In her own words:
“Press Pillay is a service-based business, which means that we grow as our accounts grow. I started out as a community member, then rented a tiny office, and now have an office that seats FIVE. It’s the little things, really.”

Keep up with Nesh:
You can follow Nesh on Instagram or Twitter (and follow Press Pillay on Instagram and Twitter, too!)


Whatever your innovative idea, becoming an Online Community Member can help make it a reality. Let us connect you with a national network of leaders, innovators and collaborators. You’ll gain access to exclusive tools, a braintrust of peers, and exclusive, hard-to-reach audiences. Most of all, you’ll have Team CSI on your side. We’re always just a click away.