Throughout my life and career, I have looked for opportunities to positively impact social change. The question that has always been front of mind for me is: How can I help?
As an educational technologist by profession, I develop performance improvement strategies by fostering environments conducive to optimal learning, empowering people so that that they may contribute to the advancement of organizations, societies, and economies.
In a past mandate, I worked with a research and development team to identify and mitigate organizational practices that limit access to management positions for highly skilled immigrants, and consequently limit organizational growth and development. For the last decade I have been developing large-scale competency building strategies to meet the growing capacity demands in the aviation industry. Much of my work has been with thriving newly industrialized countries where I gain my clients’ trust by actively collaborating with them and promoting the co-creation of solutions adapted to their needs. I have worked with people all over the world and am able to quickly grasp cultural differences and issues in order to build strong and respectful business relationships.
And to me, that’s what it’s all about – relationships. So, when Basak described to me her passion project – The Supper Society – I was immediately inspired to collaborate with her and the team. Breaking bread together is the foundation of building a relationship, and I look forward to facilitating many mutually-beneficial, enduring and empowering relationships together.
I am an American attorney who has spent 16 years of my career working abroad in the multinational, non-profit sector. I now spend my time between Montreal and the United States. As I look back over my life, some of my fondest memories take place at the supper table with friends and strangers sharing our stories, a few good laughs and maybe some heavier moments. The challenges presented by moving to a foreign country are daunting and often overwhelming. It is easy to feel lost and alone, and while a supper invitation surely can’t ease all the stresses and hurdles a newcomer to a foreign country will face, it can lighten the burden, even if only for a few short hours. I can say with certainty that those suppers broadened my horizons and made my life so much more interesting; some led to lifelong friendships and others simply left me with great memories. All were worth the effort. When asked to join the founding board of The Supper Society, I was absolutely thrilled by the idea. Breaking bread at the table together is not only a universal tradition, but also a simple, beautiful gesture.
Originally from Ontario, I moved to Quebec for university and immediately fell in love with Montreal and all the different cultures I found here. Passionate about travel and connecting people through language, I studied Teaching English as a Second Language and currently serve as the Executive Director of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS). Over the years, I have developed expertise in working with complex systems, improving performance, making connections and facilitating knowledge transfer.
For a time I lived and worked in Turkey and Taiwan, and I always appreciated the opportunities to share a meal with someone and learn more about local customs and culture. In fact, those moments provided me with comfort during some very difficult times. They also gave me a chance to develop a deeper understanding of the place I had chosen to live and work. The generosity of people and the welcoming invitations to break bread together inspired me to want to give back; the Supper Society is an important way for me to be able to do so.
My life in the past decade has been an incredible adventure filled with unforgettable memories and beautiful encounters with plenty of humans. In the past 15 years, I have held several positions in the domain of education and human performance technology in the Middle East, South-East Asia, and North America. I currently work in a small civil aviation management consultancy firm in Montreal, where I manage the Learning and Educational Technology Services offered to executive leadership groups of airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and civil aviation authorities.
One of my greatest joys is exchanging thoughts and spreading ideas across cultural, geographical, and political boundaries. My journey as an international student and an immigrant has taken me to some of the most beautiful spots on earth and has blessed me with so many extraordinary friends all around our blue planet. I also feel fortunate that my career as an educator has allowed me to meet with learners and teaching professionals from diverse educational backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages.
So naturally, when I was invited to one of the first Supper Society dinners in the summer of 2018, I gladly attended together with my friend who was a new immigrant from Iran. I was so moved by Basak’s story and her vision for Supper Society. The idea was simple yet brilliant, to bring together newcomers and established residents not in a loud and awkward bar or café, but to a cozy, lively, authentic Montreal potluck dinner. To me, Supper Society dinners manifest many great things about us, the people of the world: kindness, respect, diversity, inclusion, compassion, and support, all happening around a table full of delicious homemade dishes and desserts.