To Inspire and To Be Inspired!

At Bainsco, we take pride in giving back to our community in multiple ways. This past weekend, I was honoured to witness the success of the third Festival of Colours take shape. It was an event that I was proud to co-Chair the volunteer committee for. The Festival of Colours fundraising gala is a biennial event in support of the Markham-Stouffville Hospital Foundation hosted by dedicated South Asian leaders in the community. This year, the funds raised at the event will support the expansion and enhancement of child & adolescent mental health care at the hospital – including the development of a much-needed inpatient program. This will help reduce wait times for the existing programs, and ensure more youth and families can access timely care. As many of you know, what was already a mental health crisis in our children and youth has only been further escalated by the Covid-19 pandemic. I personally know far too many whose children are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, addictions and suicide. MSH has a vision for integrated mental health services and remains dedicated to delivering evidence-based therapy and offering a counter narrative to the stigma through community-based care initiatives. They had me at “Hello”.

When I came on board, it was a mere three months before the event day and we were still in “lockdown limbo” due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This event was originally scheduled to occur in 2020, but the onset of the pandemic canceled the event. It was thrilling to learn we could proceed with the event in-person, albeit with public health measures in place to ensure the health & safety of our guests. With so little time to put everything together, our meetings became more frequent and more pressing to ensure the event was a success. I became so invested in the cause that I found myself dedicating as much time as possible. Prior to joining the committee in February of 2022, I had very little knowledge of the other committee members or of the hospital’s foundation staff. Within weeks, we fused into a coordinated, dedicated, and high-functioning team: a team of LEADERS.

The strongest leadership teams are built by the smartest group of people who – rather than try to outshine one another – focus on inspiring and being inspired by each other. Recognizing where each of us had our strengths, we created sub-committees for Food, Décor, and Entertainment – the three key elements to creating the ambiance of a glamorous gala. With the unequivocal support of the hospital foundation, our inspirational team worked tirelessly (and through several obstacles) to bring it all together. And what a night it was!  Opulent charm, scintillating entertainment, and divine cuisine filled the Hilton Toronto Markham Suites hotel ballroom along with nearly 500 guests dressed in beautiful attire. There was generous participation in our live auction, champagne mine, and equipment appeals.  Gracious donations ensured we achieved our fundraising goal. Near the end of the night, I took a moment from afar to admire each of my committee colleagues:  their smiles, their twinkling eyes, their relaxed laughs with our guests.  In just a few short months, each one of them inspired me in different ways and I found myself appreciating each of them uniquely. I hope that I too, inspired them. Over the years, I have developed many teams; in sales, in customer service, in finance, in warehouse, and more… but this, THIS was a team that developed me.

Learning never ceases, nor does the ability to continuously develop. Inspiring and being inspired by other leaders forges growth in our own mindset and allows us to be greater leaders – for ourselves, our families, and for our community.

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