TRISHA MITCHELL - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
NON-PROFIT PROFESSIONAL, FUNDRAISER & COMMUNITY ACTIVE PERSON
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell Us a bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Grenada and now living in Toronto, I am a Spice Isle Girl living in a big city with big dreams and a passion for connecting people through social networking to build community.
Trisha has a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector, both nationally and internationally, specializing in fundraising, strategy and community economic development. My profession and passion is to utilize high impact philanthropic and fundraising solutions to change first our communities then the world. I am currently employed as a Development Coordinator at York University, with responsibility for the management, identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of the University’s major donors in the Faculty of Health.
Educational/Professional qualifications include; a Bachelor Degree in Administrative Studies (Management Hons) from York University, a Post-graduate Certificate in Fundraising and Resource Development from Georgian College (in progress) and the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation (in progress)and member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
In 2010, I co-founded Spice Youth Toronto Community Initiative, a community non-profit with a mission to engage, empower and transform youth by nurturing their intellectual, leadership and cultural potential. We provide free community workshops, seminars and social activities aimed at connecting youth with available community resources while broadening their social and professional networks and facilitating skills development.
In 2013, I joined the Toronto Young Black Professionals Mixer as Event/PR Coordinator. The mixer provides an opportunity for young black professionals to mix, mingle, network and to share the amazing things they are up to which are changing the perception of young blacks in Toronto. I am super excited about the future of this initiative!
A serial volunteer, I am a passionate supporter of health causes, women and youth development and social entrepreneurship. I also believe strongly in the power of community and of giving back. As such, my free time is spent working with various youth charities assisting in the development of fundraising strategies and programming. I also serve as Fundraising Coordinator for the Black Business Professionals Association (Young Professionals Arm and Communications Coordinator at the Grenada Independence Planning Committee (GIPC).
My future goals are to extend my work to more international development projects with a focus on the Caribbean region.
Tell us what many people do not know about you.
I am petrified of heights but love to travel. You couldn’t pay me to go to the CN Tower! Whew!
What’s your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
My inspiration comes from a variety of sources but I credit most of it to my upbringing, I grew up in a supportive environment where the entire village took an interest in caring for, and raising youth in the community. So many of them have played a hand in where I am today that my motivation is not to let them down. In particular, my parents have made so many sacrifices for me to enjoy the life that I am living now that my life, my accomplishments now are to me my way of saying ‘Thanks’.
My motivation though is this deep certainty (not sure where it comes from exactly but I can’t shake it) that GOD has a supreme plan for my life and that I am destined to make a difference. And so everyday I try to live that reality allowing him to use me as he wills. Through my job, but most especially through my community work for that is what has the potential to touch the most people.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
Where I am now has been a journey, a path I never would have dreamed of even four years ago and I have so much more to go that I am excited about! I owe a lot to my community upbringing in Grenada and to mentors who have entered by life, both solicited and unsolicited at various points. Through them I learned how to embrace my dreams and to speak them into existence, how to deal with challenges when they arise and how to understand and accept that all things happen for a reason. I also cannot discount the value of hard work and consistency – We truly are what we do repeatedly.
What more should you expect from Trisha? Anything! The sky is the limit, I feel like I have only tapped the edge of my potential and I am excited to continue this journey of self discovery. If you would like to follow that journey, I will be launching a new blog soon in the hopes that it will inspire others to reach their full potential. I’ll make the announcement on twitter and FB so keep checking those.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a person who LIVED, not on the sidelines, but someone who rolled up her sleeves and got unto the field and made a difference. Ultimately, I want to leave a legacy that my children can be proud of. You didn’t ask for a favorite song but I’ll share this one with you – it’s my mantra for the days when I’m going through the lows. ‘I was here’ by Beyonce Knowles (Queen B)
“I want to say I lived each day, until I died
And know that I meant something in, somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see – I was here.”
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I will admit that this is an area I am still working on. I tend to get consumed by my work – in particular my volunteer activities. I have been learning slowly but surely how to switch of and to take time for me – to rejuvenate and to spend quality time with loved ones. Still a work in progress though – I still have not managed to figure out how to disconnect from my blackberry!
What is your favourite food, book, music and movie?
Favourite Food: Oil Down – Grenada’s national dish. A fragrant mix of vegetables and meat, simmered in coconut milk and curry spices.
Favourite book: In the meantime – Iyana Vanzant
Favourite music: I am an unapologetic socaholic!
Favourite movie: (Don’t laugh) Home Alone – all parts
What is your experience as a black person in Canada?
As a black, immigrant female in Canada – especially having migrated here as an adult at 21, has been largely mixed. I have experienced the systemic racism that is so cleverly disguised here in Canada, but have also had the opportunity to take charge of my own destiny through the support of community networks and volunteering. I always say that the best way to learn new skills and to create new networks in a safe environment is to volunteer. Or if that is not an option, create your own network. This is how SYTCI was born – four young ladies with similar experiences and needs connecting to find a solution to a common problem – lack of ready access to knowledge resources. Three years later, our education program provides free resource workshops for Afro-Canadian youth 15 – 29.
Are there as many opportunities for blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like Oprah etc?
Certainly! We just haven’t gotten to the phase where we believe that yet. We are still in the victim phase, looking for answers outside of ourselves and our communities. When we realize that the answers we seek are within ourselves, there will be no force as powerful as the Black community.
Mention a few of your favourite Black Canadian Leaders, Artistes and Role Models
Dr. Afua Cooper – Academic, Poet, Activist. A strong female not afraid to challenge the status quo yet who remains unrelentingly true to her roots.
Hon. Jean Augustine – Politician, Fairness Commissioner. Fellow Grenadian female, who has showed us how to use the tools at our disposal, namely our networks to achieve beyond our expectations. Her works for charity and for the empowerment of young women is to be commended and emulated.
Mrs. Jenny Gumbs, former Consulate General of Grenada to Canada – Diplomat, Mentor, Community Servant. Were it not for her mentorship I would not be as focused and confident as I am today.
Should & do Blacks Support/patronize black music events and businesses?
In my experience the support particularly for events is largely localized (by community, origin country, religion etc) and inconsistent which provides a definite challenge for event managers and promoters like me! Would certainly love to see us do better in this area – the challenge being, if we do not support our own, then who will?
What is your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Having moved to Canada in 2005 and then straight into University life, there has not been as much time to expand my understanding of Black History in Canada as I would like but I have started on the journey. Earlier this year I was invited to join the Afro Canada Views team as writer and strategic partner to undertake a project called ‘GIANTS’ – Intimate portraits of Afro-Canadian icons on whose shoulders we now stand. The most significant for me was my interview with Dr. Afua Cooper, poet and activist, she conducted ground breaking research on African Slavery in Canada, documenting the lives of slaves like Henry Bib and Angelique and with it a clear indication of slave ownership and therefore Africans in Canada long before the Underground railroad. This project is still continuing and you can check out more interviews here: http://afrocanadaviews.blogspot.ca/
A Few words of inspiration:
The only person holding you back is you. You are not your circumstances – You are a divine creation with a specific purpose. Find that purpose nurture it and never let anyone tell you it cannot be done. Understand that the people around you may not understand your calling; that sometimes you will have to go it alone
Social Media to connect with Tisha: