MEET THE TEAM

Executive Team

  • Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

    Executive Director

    Rachel Kiddell-Monroe is a lawyer, a humanitarian practitioner and an advocate. She is a Board Director at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a founding President of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and a Professor of Practice at McGill University. Rachel believes putting people and their community first is key to creating a more humane, just, and fair society.

  • Samantha Poncabare

    Executive Assistant

    Samantha Poncabare holds a BA in International Development with a minor in International Relations and Environmental Sciences from McGill University. Previously, Samantha worked in the sales department of a startup, organized a course on Humanitarian Action at the McGill Summer Institute in Global Health and volunteered with SeeChange on fundraising and event planning.

  • Peter Saranchuk

    Medical Director

    Peter Saranchuk is a medical doctor with more than a dozen years of international experience with the humanitarian medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In addition to performing HIV-TB clinical work in resource-limited settings, he has worked as a TB-HIV Advisor in MSF’s Southern African Medical Unit. He currently works in a Community Health Centre in southern Ontario.

  • Sumeet Sodhi

    Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator

    Sumeet is a family physician in the Toronto Western Hospital Family Health Team, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and the Academic Lead for the Indigenous Health Partners Program at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Sumeet has led many global health initiatives, including indigenous health, diabetes, HIV, TB, primary care integration, community-based programming and chronic illness care.

  • Tanya Ayala

    Communications Officer

    A storyteller at heart, Tanya Ayala is a Communications Consultant and holds a BA in Political Science with a minor in Professional Writing from Concordia University. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Paralegal Studies from Conestoga College and is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations & Communications Management from McGill University. She previously worked in the private sector as a Sales Manager, Recruiter, and Internal Communications Specialist.

TB Initiative Team

  • Malcolm Ranta

    Local Director

    Malcolm Ranta is the Executive Director of the Ilisaqsivik Society. He also manages the Ittaq Heritage and Research Center and the social enterprise Tukumaaq Incorporated. Malcolm has years of experience working in Nunavut in government and non-profit sectors. He has worked in public health and community development with remote and urban Indigenous communities. Malcolm is also a wannabe weekend hunter.

  • Sheila Enook

    TB Project Coordinator

    Sheila Enook has a business degree from Queen’s School of Business. She worked for the Government of Nunavut as Manager of Finance with Arctic College and Director of Finance for the Department of Health. She is a member of Regional TB Committee. In her free time, Sheila makes traditional hunting equipment and goes out to her cabin or hunting.

COVID-19 Initiative Team

  • Jessica Farber

    Community Readiness Coordinator

    Jessica Farber works with community leaders to organize, prepare and respond to COVID-19 using the CommunityFirst COVID-19 Roadmap. She has experience in outreach, advocacy and project coordination with forced migrants and asylum seekers in Montreal and Mexico. Jessica holds a B.A. in International Development from McGill University.

  • Megan Corbett-Thompson

    Community Readiness Outreach Coordinator

    Megan Corbett-Thompson holds a BSc in Ecological Determinants of Health from McGill University. She has gained diverse experience in protection work, community mobilization and environmental health promotion alongside NGOs in Latin America. Megan is committed to community empowerment and upholding the dignity of all persons.

  • Violeta Chapela

    Medical Advisor for Community Health

    Violeta Chapela is a doctor with humanitarian experience in the areas of sexual violence, migration, sexual and reproductive health, mental health for victims of violence and primary healthcare in exclusion and war zones. Violeta also has an interest in strengthening community networks from a gender perspective.

Board of Directors

  • Denis Blanchette

    President and Treasurer

    Denis Blanchette has spent 30 years bringing community first. He worked with communities in Africa and Latin America. After working at the Supreme Court of Canada, he is now a partner at one of Canada’s leading law firms supporting Indigenous communities. Denis is recognized as a leading practitioner in Indigenous law in Best Lawyers in Canada 2020.

  • Madlen Nash

    Board Secretary

    Madlen Nash holds an Honours BSc in Microbiology and Immunology and an MSc in Epidemiology, both from McGill University. She has led several global health research studies in India and authored academic articles in leading scientific journals. Madlen is a founding member of SeeChange and currently works as a Research and Advocacy Associate at AIDS-Free World.

  • Jasper Monroe-Blanchette

    Member

    Jasper Monroe-Blanchette studies Forestry at Cégep de Chicoutimi. Through his studies, he is working towards getting involved with Indigenous communities in relation to forest management. Jasper loves wild places and finds his calling in mountains and forests. He is a yoga teacher and finds his peace in practicing traditional forms, which include qigong and kung fu as well as yoga.

  • Michelle Osry

    Member

    Over the past 25 years, Michelle Osry has worked across North America, Europe and Africa as an academic and investment banker She is now a partner at Deloitte Canada, where she leads the firm’s Family Enterprise Consulting practice. Michelle is Vice Chair of the Family Enterprise Xchange, a Canadian organization dedicated to empowering enterprising families and their advisors.

  • Carol Devine

    Member

    Carol Devine was a founding member of SeeChange and is a Humanitarian Affairs Advisor with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada. Carol was a 2016 fellow of the Ecologic Institute’s Arctic Summer College. She is a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Humanities Expert Group and a Community Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research.

Board of Advisors

  • Jennifer Furin

    Dr. Jennifer Furin is an infectious diseases clinician and medical anthropologist who has spent 25 years working to address TB and HIV in vulnerable populations. She is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and serves as a consultant for a variety of organizations to support person-centered care. She specializes in the care of children with drug-resistant forms of TB.

  • Daniel Solomon

    Daniel Soloman is a businessman and trustee of the Heathside Charitable Trust which is a family charity based in London, United Kingdom. The charity funds projects both in the UK and overseas.

  • Grace Yang

    Grace Yang is the Chief Trouble Maker at TEDxMontrealWomen, curating and encouraging speakers to step outside of their comfort zones to deliver their most compelling talks. She leads a dynamic team of volunteers and fosters a creative culture where everyone can grow together. Previously, Grace worked in the investment industry on both the buy and sell sides of the Street.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Stephen Lewis is co-director of the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World and co-chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. He has previously served as the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, as Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

  • Courtney Howard

    Dr. Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Canada’s subarctic, and board President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). She was the first author on the 2017 and 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Briefings for Canadian Policymakers, as well as being the 2018 International Policy Director for the Lancet Countdown.

  • Jerry Natanine

    Jerry Natanine was born and raised in Clyde River, Nunavut. He has been working with Ilisaqsivik for several years. He completed Ilisaqsivik’s Our Life’s Journey: Inuit Counsellor Training Program. Jerry has held many leadership roles in Clyde River, including Chair of the Hunters and Trappers Organization. Jerry is currently Mayor of Clyde River for a second time.

  • Igah Sanguya

    Igah Sanguya currently sits on the Board of the Ilisaqsivik Society and serves as the Community Health Representative of Clyde River, Nunavut. In the past, Igah has also served on the Board of Directors of Pauktuutit and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network.

  • Georgia White

    Georgia White is a Strategy and Policy Associate at the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World. Over the past decade, Georgia has worked in the United States, Cambodia and her home country of Australia as an advocate and policy expert on health and social justice issues.

Interns & Volunteers

  • Béatrice Petitclerc

    Volunteer

    Beatrice is a student in the Law-MBA co-op program at the Université de Sherbrooke, with an interest in humanitarian and environmental issues, as well as Indigenous law. Previously, Beatrice has travelled globally for humanitarian and scientific projects. She completed an internship in Iqaluit through College Sainte-Anne de Lachine, as well as a contract with the Government of Nunavut, focused on long-term health in the region.

  • Emanuelle Lyons

    Communications Intern

    Emanuelle is a recent graduate of McGill University, holding a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations & Communications Management. She also holds a BMus in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia where her passion for communications and storytelling began. A recipient of the McGill Integrated Internship Award, Emanuelle is thrilled for the opportunity to work with SeeChange.

Partners

  • Ilisaqsivik Society

    Community initiated and community-based Inuit organization located in Clyde River, Nunavut. Ilisaqsivik Society is dedicated to promoting community wellness by providing space, resources, and programming that helps families and individuals find healing and develop their strengths. Ilisaqsivik Society is a Canadian registered charity and brings two decades of Inuit-based experience in training and community empowerment.

    Learn more about the Ilisaqsivik Society

DONATE

SeeChange Initiative is a non-profit organization and we count on the generosity supporters like you who believe in our vision.

Your gift helps us put CommunityFirst and supports more communities to respond to the health and social challenges they face.

You can donate to See Change through the PayPal button below. PayPal allows you to use a credit or debit card to make a donation without a PayPal account.
Accepted cards:#
Thank you. Your donation of $50 has been successful.Thank you for helping us put CommunityFirst! Your generous gift will allow us to continue working with our partners to co-create innovative solutions to health and social challenges.We have sent you a receipt to your email address. Please keep this receipt for your records.
Success!
Thank you. Your donation of $ has been successful.Thank you for helping us put CommunityFirst! Your generous gift will allow us to continue working with our partners to co-create innovative solutions to health and social challenges.We have sent you a receipt to your email address. Please keep this receipt for your records.
Success!

PARTNER

Together with our partners, we co-create innovative solutions to health and social challenges. We invite community-led organizations to reach out to explore how SeeChange Initiative can support your work.

Thank you for your interest in partnering with SeeChange Initiative! We will reach out to you within the next 48 hours. Facebook InstagramTwitterLinkedIn
Success!

VOLUNTEER

We always welcome passionate, motivated, and skilled volunteers to join us! If you have talent and time to share, we would love to hear from you.

Thank you for your interest in partnering with SeeChange Initiative! We will reach out to you within the next 48 hours. Facebook InstagramTwitterLinkedIn
Success!
Nov 20, 2019

Women and leadership: Reflections on being an unintentional woman leader

#
Words byRachel Kiddell-Monroe
Photo bySeeChange Initiative

Late last year, I was invited to speak on an all-female Women and Leadership Panel at the Business Families Summit of Minds.

Frankly, the invitation came as a surprise. And not only because I am not a member of the business community. My first reaction was to feel like an imposter as I saw the list of women business icons and leaders in Quebec and Canada. My second thought, unrelated to my personal existentialism, was why aren’t there any men on the panel? My third thought was: Wow! Am I a woman leader?

I set up an Amnesty International chapter at my school when I was 13. By 23 I was in the jungle of Indonesia working with Indigenous tribes to fight logging and government relocation policies. The next 25 years were spent leading projects with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders focusing on bringing assistance to populations in danger due to war, conflict and epidemics and leading Universities Allied for Essential Medicines fighting for access to medicines justice. I have worked with so many extraordinary, brave men and women, from all backgrounds and all age groups. I had always thought of myself as contributing to the mission rather than being a leader.

The Summit was a gift. My friends and colleagues soon convinced me that I was not an imposter and I had a lot to say on women and leadership. So I dived in and I am glad I did.

The following is an adaptation of what I shared with the conference attendees in November 2019.

Last night President Obama was in Montreal. He told us that despite all the gloom and doom of politics, polarization, climate change, inequality, there has never been a better time in history to be born and alive.

A message of hope.

I believe that too. But this time in history is one where we have to realize that we need change.

Urgently.

There is no doubt that our planet is on a precipice, humanity on a knife’s edge and women are a critical part of the solution. It is not time to sit by, it is a time to lead. In our world today we need a radical change in approach to governance, including in family businesses, if we are going to meet the existential threats facing our planet and our societies. 

Women of all backgrounds need to work alongside men of all backgrounds in a new way, in a new model of governance; Given the state of today’s world, women in leadership cannot be a luxury, nor a way to tick the box of political correctness and gender equity. Women leaders are essential partners if we want to positively change the course that our planet and our human societies are on.

As Steve Case told us today, it is not that women feel left out, they ARE left out. As are men of colour, people outside binary definitions, as are the poor, the marginalized, the vulnerable, the dispossessed…
In a move to purpose-driven capitalism, do women hold the key to creating the drive for a new form of governance, a governance-based on people and community interests, not individual and self-interest? I think so.

Gender equity is critical (and we are definitely nowhere near there yet) – it is the only way to get through the blindness of a local and global system which has consistently created (intentionally or not) structural barriers to female leadership.

But it’s not enough. We do not need equity for equity’s sake but we need equity because the world needs women leaders like never before. We need women working alongside enlightened and open male counterparts in a new governance construct.

By infusing the system with women leaders who bring the qualities to achieve this new model of governance, change can come which will unite us and allow our planet and life on earth to not just survive but to thrive.

The qualities and values women bring are well known but now is the time to elevate them to where they belong. Humanity and solidarity. Empathy and communication. These are not soft skills – these are core values and approaches which will be key drivers for a new governance approach which values equity, diversity, participation, collaboration, inclusion, and partnership. And women are uniquely placed to help lead the way.

But women need to address some issues if this is to work. There is no place or space for women hate. Madeleine Albright said there was “a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”. I agree and I am tired of both being a victim of woman hate and seeing women hate meted out to others. We can be better. We need to be better than that. But we have to acknowledge that this strange cannibalistic attitude is both fed and created by a system which, even if unknowingly, encourages or even requires that. Even many of the most aware and sensitive men I know simply do not see the injustice of the system.

There is no place or space to be complacent or satisfied with making it as a leader in the current system. Many of us have fought within the current system to make our voices heard. And to do that we have had to play by the rules of the system. This system sees so-called feminine attributes of empathy and caring as soft skills which are nice but have no real place in business. First, let me say they may be feminine attributes, but feminine attributes are not the sole property of women. And a system that is inherently inequitable and oftentimes racist can never be accepted or even tolerated. As leaders, whether men or women, we are obliged to challenge it.

There is no space or place to hide our families. How many of us have forced a slightly sick child to go to school or daycare because we have a big work meeting that day that “I simply can’t miss”? Got the “rolling-eye” treatment from colleagues for leaving work early for school pick up as if we are having special privileges? No one taking into account we arrived at work at least an hour before everyone else. How many of us have been relegated to a windowless room to breastfeed or pump milk at work so other staff members don’t feel uncomfortable (you try pumping milk – it is us who feels uncomfortable, I assure you!)? How many women have been denied flexible hours to adapt to family life and been told we’d love too but we can’t make exceptions or it would not be fair on the rest of the staff?

It all sounds so 1980s. But I am talking about 1998, 2002 and 2007. I can safely bet that it is still the experience of many women today.

In my world, there can be no hard separation between my work and family life. I have consistently refused all efforts to deny my motherhood and to begrudge my family responsibilities. I took my babies to work; I campaigned at the AIDS conference in Toronto with a 3 and 7-year-old at my side… As part of that tradition, I invited two of my sons to this event. And certainly not because they need babysitting anymore (those 3 and 7-year-olds are now 17 and 21!) but because I believe we are part of the same world and that my work is a central part of how I show up in the world. And so are my children. So why would I not share my work with them and them with my work?

The system we have created and, let’s be honest, that many of us women have been complicit in, forces us to make choices. Choices we should not have to make. And it is time for women not just to rage about the failings of the system today. It is time for us to make the change. And that starts with us. It is not just about feeling good about being equal, getting the same pay and same treatment and not being penalized for being the ones who bear children. It is much, much bigger than that. It is about uplifting other women, supporting men who support women leaders, advocating for gender balance, taking pride in the fact that women are essential to changing the world for the better. Women leaders are at the heart of a new world that cares, that is empathic and that is sustainable. Women leaders are not a luxury. I believe they are key to the survival of the planet.”

Looking back on my experience at the Summit, I am grateful as it made me take a hard look at how I showed up in the world. I have always struggled with how to honour all the lives, the conflicts, the joys and the deaths that I have been privy to all over the world.

In 2018, I started my own organization. SeeChange is in many ways a culmination of my life’s experiences (…so far!) and I am channelling all that I have learnt through it. Which can be summarized in two words: Community First. By allowing and co-creating safe spaces, and ensuring adequate resources, communities are their own agents of change. Through SeeChange, we support communities who want to play a central role in their own health and wellness. Community First distils my experiences into a simple concept. It is how I have chosen to give back to those communities who shared a piece of their lives with me. And I will do that stepping into my role as a woman leader.