Client Success: NGM Board Chair

Update Goals, Gratitude and Welcomes

An Update from Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky, Next Gen Men’s Board Chair

On behalf of the Board, I wanted to share many exciting updates with you about Next Gen Men’s (NGM) growth over the past several years. I became Board Chair in October 2017 as part of the inaugural Board and am in awe of how much we’ve grown in such a short period of time.

In 2017, NGM formed its inaugural Board of Directors: Brendan Ross, Carla Hilario, Matt Corker, Andrew Brown, and myself. We’re so grateful to Brendan, Carla, Matt, and Andrew for giving Next Gen Men their time, talents and expertise when there was no precedent — it takes gusto to be the ‘first’. 2018 proved to be a year of growth with the addition of three new Directors: Jermal Jones (NGM co-founder and former Program Director of NGM), Maryann Kerr, and Josh Kolm. It’s an honour to work alongside all of these passionate and dedicated individuals. I also want to give huge kudos to our amazing Executive Director, Jake Stika, for pulling together the first group of Directors to help govern this awesome organization.

Over the past three and a half years, our Board has focused significantly on building capacity in the areas of strategic planning and governance as well as healthy masculinities. We held our first Strategic Planning Retreat this past January in Toronto, which allowed our Directors to all meet in person for the first time ever.

Completing our first Strategic Plan led to the identification of three key Strategic Priorities: 1) Financial Sustainability; 2) Profile & Reputation; and 3) Organizational Effectiveness. Only five years into its existence, NGM is still very much a start-up organization. As such, we’ve had a lot of opportunities to build a culture that values social enterprise and innovation while always staying true to our mission. Constantly seeking to learn and unlearn, our Board has pushed itself to grow the thinking of the organization to ensure it is sustainable by adopting best practices and learning from others. Not to mention, our Executive Director keeps us on our toes!

In late 2019, both Carla and Brendan stepped down from their board positions, as they both welcomed Next Gen People in 2020. We want to congratulate Carla and Brendan as they start adventures in parenthood, and to thank them for all of their time, expertise, and energy that they brought to NGM’s Board of Directors.

Knowing we had three open seats, we put out a call for individuals interested in joining our Board. We received such an overwhelming response… including  over thirty knowledgeable and passionate applicants from all across Canada (and even Kenya!) — which made selection incredibly difficult. In the end, we took on three new Directors, and established four new Committees (Governance, Fund Development, Human Resources, and Finance & Audit) that added 15 Committee Members to work alongside our Board Directors.

So, without further ado…

We’d like to welcome our three newest Board Directors, who joined us earlier this year! Meet Amanda, Hafiz and German!

Amanda Daley
Amanda has worked in the banking industry for over five years, taking on progressively more senior roles. Prior to that, she worked within the commercial property real estate industry for several years. She considers herself a continuous learner and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from York University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology & Sociology (Joint Major) from Trent University and completed her Business Administration certificate at George Brown College. Amanda has also been a Girl Guides Unit Leader for more than five years in Toronto.  In 2020 she joined NGM’s Board of Directors.

Hafiz Damji
Hafiz is is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) based in Calgary.  He graduated with a business degree from McMaster University and spends his time volunteering with different organizations especially in the arts.  Hafiz originally joined Next Gen Men as a local volunteer in Calgary in 2019, working with other local volunteers to plan NGM Circle events. Hafiz still works with us to plan Circle events, we just keep giving him more to do Hafiz joined NGM’s Board of Directors in 2020, and chairs the finance committee.

German Villegas
In 2020 German joined NGM’s Board of Directors, and is part of the governance committee. German is a community developer based in Edmonton, and has a background in education, youth work, and community engagement. He’s also the host of the Modern Manhood Podcast, and a volunteer with Men Edmonton. He’s an immigrant that’s lived in Canada for 30 plus years. You can talk to him about rap music, the 2006 Oilers, and why everyone should listen to Raewyn Connell.  German encourages us to always question ourselves, something we have a love-hate relationship with

We’d also like to welcome our many incredible Committee volunteers: Stephanie Redivo, Kevin Wentzel, Tara Kazemi, Mathura Karunanithy, Eric Arthrell, Cassidee Smith, Azra Khayum, Andrew Rogan, Alex Dagg, Andrew Ng, Slavena Petrova, Jaskanwal Singh, Mandy Sherman, Liz LeClair, and Sinthy Sundaramohan. Between them all, there’s a broad range and depth of experience, expertise, and of course, the drive for change that brings so many to the work of NGM. Check out our volunteer page to read complete bios for all of them! I’m proud to work alongside such dedicated and hardworking Directors and Committee Members and look forward to sharing more of our work with you.

As we look to the future of NGM, I like to keep Sheryl Sandberg’s quote in mind: “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” Gender inequality is still very much a real struggle and it will not be solved without the help of men & boys. Patriarchy hurts men too. As bell hooks taught us, the first act of violence we ask of boys is to kill their emotions, to cut themselves off from their hearts. This hurts their ability to love and be loved. This is why the work of NGM is so important: by empowering, engaging, and educating men & boys, we will collectively transform the world. Here’s to undefining and redefining what it means “to be a man”.

Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky
Board Chair

About Next Gen Men

Next Gen Men (NGM) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that creates spaces to engage, educate, and empower men and boys around gender. NGM gets at the roots of gender inequity by redefining what ‘manhood’ means. In the classroom and after school, NGM empowers boys to be their best selves. In the community or in the workplace, NGM helps men see themselves as stakeholders in gender equality. From mental health and isolation, to gender-based violence and discrimination—NGM creates brave spaces for big issues.

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To indicate your interest and learn more, reach out to us today.