NYWC invests in post-pandemic leadership support.
When we say that North York Women’s Centre advances equality and empowers women to effect positive change, that applies to our own team, too. We are constantly learning and working to better support NYWC employees, facilitators and volunteers.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, it particularly impacted the Ontario non-profit sector, which was already vulnerable due to inconsistent, project-based funding. One of our responses was to retain Michelle Coombs as a part-time leadership consultant between October 2022 and April 2023.
“It’s been really rewarding to support NYWC so they can stay committed to their clients after such a disruptive period,” says Coombs, a Principal Consultant at The Osborne Group. “In recent years, leaders and staff in the non-profit sector faced an enormous struggle to pivot from in-person to digital service and back again.”
NYWC Executive Director Iris Fabbro appreciates how Coombs helped onboard new managers, supported the relaunch of essential programs, and offered fresh perspectives and approaches to meeting community needs.
“Michelle provided a valuable sounding board for the team and me – and she is someone whom I can bounce ideas off of, says Fabbro.
The fact that NYWC’s Board of Directors approved a consultant is progressive and reflective of its commitment to empower women, adds Coombs. “It’s really important for non-profit boards to acknowledge that directors need support and time to recharge, especially after the last few years of short staffing and change. Societal expectations often result in female leaders bearing a greater burden at work and at home, as well.”
Coombs also recently worked with Fabbro and the team to develop a NYWC Team Charter: a living document that supports team collaboration, efficient workflow and healthy communication.
“Michelle implemented several exercises to help our team better understand each other, too” says Fabbro.
“Investment in this type of team building ensures that staff feel valued, setting them up to be the best that they can be.”
Ultimately, that type of synergy benefits North York Women’s Centre program participants, as well as staff.
“A lot of people who come to NYWC are caregivers who need care themselves, so being supported by a team that demonstrates care for each other is powerful,” says Coombs.
To find out more about what it’s like to work at North York Women’s Centre, visit our About NYWC page and see our jobs page. Plus, read testimonials from NYWC participants, sign up for free NYWC women’s programs or consider making a donation to help us help more women. Thank you!
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