Celebrating Ascend Canada’s MVPs

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Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Ascend Canada MVP awards! To get to know our community leaders a little bit better, we asked them a few questions about their volunteer journey with Ascend. Read below to learn more about some of our winners – Tazrian Alam, Sandeep Dani, Aashna Mondkar, Brendon Buckler, Amy Xie, Emily McCullough, Daisy Tiwana, Varun Chandrasekar, James Diamond, Rex Chan, and Sara Chi.

What was your proudest moment volunteering with Ascend Canada this year?

Tazrian Alam

“As a first generation immigrant, I did not have the luxury of inheriting my family/parents’ professional network when I started working in the corporate sector in Canada. However, through Ascend, I have gotten the chance to collaborate and work with senior leaders in the industry which enabled me to build my own network. This past year has been incredibly rewarding for me because I had the chance to leverage my network and connect new immigrants and students, who may find themselves in a similar process of building their networks. It makes me very proud to volunteer for an organization with a built-in “Pay It Forward” mentality where the senior leaders and members are generous with their time and knowledge, and are eager to help others succeed.

Sandeep Dani

“I am immensely proud to contribute and lead the volunteer footprint initiative strategy by defining the target organizations, collaborating with other Ascend teams and creating volunteer committee visibility within the target sponsor organizations. The initiative will further diversify the volunteer mix and create opportunities for the volunteer community.”

Aashna Mondkar:

“One of the major projects I’ve been leading this year is to automate our expense forms by creating an online version to reduce some of the manual steps involved in approving and processing expense requests. One of the proudest moments this year for me was when we saw the first version of the online form come together based on our vision. It was nice to see all the hard work and multiple meetings that we held with the vendor pay off, and we’re very excited to soon go live with our final version!”

What was your biggest takeaway from volunteering with ascend Canada this year?

Brendon Buckler:

“It reaffirmed the importance of making time for organizations such as Ascend, especially during these unprecedented times, when isolation and segregation is so prevalent. Ascend offers support, guidance, added sense of partnership and comradery.”

Amy Xie:

“There are a lot of us in the same boat, dealing with the same challenges. It’s great to be able to talk about it and learn new strategies on how to become a more effective leader.”

Emily McCullough

Being open to trying new initiatives – saying yes to something that I was not familiar with allowed me to develop knowledge in that area and improve my skill set!”

Daisy Tiwana:

“Oh my gosh, there isn’t just one: Volunteering with Ascend has been a great learning experience – As a volunteer you never stop learning. There is a proverb in my first language that roughly translates to ‘association changes/impacts behaviours’. Being a volunteer gave me the opportunity to work closely with some of the most hard-working and passionate people, learn from them and develop meaningful connections with professionals in my area. And all the while driving impact through our projects! Diversity, inclusion and authenticity are at the heart of everything we do here at Ascend. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds, skills, experiences has certainly helped me enhance the way I think and problem-solve.”

Varun Chandrasekar:

In a year where we still couldn’t get together in-person, the Ascend community continued to serve as an incredible network of people to connect with and learn from.

What are you looking forward to from volunteering with Ascend Canada in 2022?

James Diamond:

“I am looking forward to continuing to improve upon, and optimize, the website for our audience. This will bring about new ways in which users can interact with Ascend and each other. As we continue to live through the pandemic and have an increased online presence, ensuring an engaging and up to date user experience is very important. Helping this come to life is what we continue to work on and in 2022 it should continue to get even better.”

Rex Chan:

“Continue to be able to pay it forward by advocating Ascend’s purpose and helping sponsors and members embrace the value Ascend brings to those seeking visibility, diversity, and inclusion within work and personal life.”

Sara Chi:

“As 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of Ascend Canada, I look forward to partnering with a growing list of stellar Canadian organizations to further develop and advance Pan-Asian talent to their full potential. I am, of course, also hoping for in-person celebrations with our beloved volunteers, and I highly encourage everyone to find something to volunteer.”