From my personal view, I have always keenly felt the gaps of diverse, artistic voices in the telling of our country’s history so I am thrilled to be an Advisor for Netsalana: an inter-generational artistic anthology of Eritrean-Canadian diaspora.
Throughout my career, I have held increasingly senior Human Resources leadership roles at the Art Gallery of Ontario, George Brown College, Loblaw Companies Limited, The Home Depot, Tim Horton’s and Costco Wholesale. My focus has been to partner with others to create more progressive, diverse and inclusive workplaces.
I have an MA with a dual specialization in Work, Organization & Leadership and Adult Education, as well as my Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation. I am humbled to have been recognized with the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) Outstanding Senior Human Resource Professional Award, to be named a Diversity Champion by Women of Influence and to have been a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.
What sparked your interest in/passion for art?
I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario in a family that has farmed for centuries in Canada and overseas. These agricultural roots prepared me well for life and work in terms of ingraining values of community, hard work, persistence and compassion. And while, I had some exposure to literature and theatre as a child, it was not until my twenties that I truly fell in love with the arts. It was then that I learned more about the written word, paintings, music, dance and more.
The first apartment that my husband and I had together was in London, Ontario and it was 350 square feet. He was still in school and I was working in retail and I remember that we saved enough money to go to a local restaurant to have dinner for our anniversary. It was there that we saw a painting that we fell in love with called ‘Hobby Farm’ by a painter who called Orthoclase. It deeply reminded me of my farm roots. The restaurant and the artist were kind enough to let us garner enough savings over time so we could buy it as they knew we were so smitten with it.
Since then, we have tried to support local non-profits, artists and arts organizations whenever we can. Art has the power to challenge our thoughts, to heal our hearts, to calm our souls, to inspire our imaginations and to connect us to our roots. Thus, it is so meaningful to me to be part of supporting this anthology.