Staff Q&A: Introducing Amanda!

Amanda has recently joined YCI as the Volunteer Program Coordinator and is very excited to support volunteers as they prepare to go on project. A graduate of The Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, Amanda specialized in entrepreneurship and has a passion for youth livelihoods, microfinance, and using business for social good. Amanda realized her strong interest in international development and social entrepreneurship when she worked in Kenya in both 2009 and 2010 with Western Heads East where she assisted women’s groups with the start-up of a community-based microenterprise. Most recently she worked with YCI in Guyana as the Women’s Entrepreneurship Project Officer where she launched a new women’s networking initiative to train and support over 50 female entrepreneurs. Amanda enjoys working with young people, learning about new cultures, and playing soccer everywhere she goes.

Welcome to the office Amanda!

What does your job at YCI involve:

My job is the best! As the Volunteer Program Coordinator, I work very closely with all of our wonderful volunteers to support them throughout the entire preparation process and make sure that they are well prepared for project. As the main contact at YCI for volunteers, I interview and select candidates, provide them with all project information and resources for preparation, facilitate their pre-departure training, and provide ongoing support throughout their entire time with YCI. My goal is to make sure we have the best volunteers on board and to ensure they have a valuable experience that contributes to the long-term success of our youth development programs.

How did you get involved with YCI?

In January 2011, I was thrilled to be selected as a CIDA intern with YCI to work in Guyana for nine months. I was immediately impressed with YCI’s approach to youth development, their continuous support, and extensive preparation and training.

From March to December, I worked with Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG) as the Women’s Entrepreneurship Project Officer where I designed, implemented, and managed a new women’s networking initiative to train and support 50 female entrepreneurs. In this position, I coordinated and facilitated business training workshops, organized a mentorship program, hosted networking events, provided advice to the entrepreneurs, and identified opportunities for the female entrepreneurs to gain experience and exposure. It was a phenomenal internship and I absolutely loved working in Guyana with YCG and the wonderful local staff.

What motivates you?

Working with exciting, fun, passionate people and making people happy!

What youth issues concern you most?

I am most passionate about youth livelihoods and specifically youth entrepreneurship. With approximately 88.2 million young women and men unemployed globally, entrepreneurship is critical to create jobs, boost economic growth, and improve the communities that we live in. With so many talented smart young people in the world, entrepreneurship is a phenomenal opportunity for youth to create their own path for success.

What else do you do?

Soccer! I play any chance I can get and I also coach a U10 girls competitive team. I am also an avid snowboarder and rollerblader and I enjoy doing anything active. I spend my free time hanging out with friends and meeting new people, and I love to travel, listen to music and dance!

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