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Emergent Strategy Illustration

Embracing Paradox

2021 will be a year of learning to love and lean into paradox. Openly’s Co-Founders Tanya and Lisa reveal where our hearts and minds are focused as we take on the year ahead.

Emergent Strategy Illustration

Emergent Resolutions for 2021

How do you make relevant New Years resolutions during a pandemic? Openly’s Jillian Witt is taking an emergent strategy approach to her 2021 goals. Learn more about why clarifying your purpose is essential to setting direction during uncertain times.

Mastering Your Theory of Change

In this podcast from Charity Village and The Good Partnership, Lisa Watson sheds some light on Openly’s approach to Theory of Change development. Connect the dots between what you do and why you do it, and explore how to amp up clarity, strategy and impact in your organization!

3 Tips in 3 Minutes:
Managing Your Organizational Strategy During the Pandemic

Lisa Watson shares 3 tips for managing your organizational strategy during this complex time:

  1. Listen to your system
  2. Adapt
  3. Prioritize and re-prioritize
click to read Lisa Watson's bio

Lisa’s compassionate approach brings a human-centred perspective to all areas of social change. As our lead strategist and facilitator, her passion for human potential, soulful leadership and systems design is evident in her diverse portfolio of clients, partners and collaborators. Lisa has a gift for illuminating strengths, listening deeply and bringing strategies to life. Her work helps leaders elevate their lives, organizations and the world. Lisa's 20+ year career spans the nonprofit, government, philanthropic and private sectors.

3 Tips in 3 Minutes:
Building Your Confidence for Decisions During Times of Uncertainty

Tanya Darisi shares 3 tips to build your confidence for decisions during times of uncertainty:

  1. Remind yourself of your values
    2. Keep your line of sight short and clear
    3. Ask and adapt
click to read Tanya Darisi's bio
Tanya is known for her insatiable drive to make change happen. As our lead researcher and evaluator, she has a true passion for social justice and data-driven insight. Always looking on the bright side, she’s a natural born problem-solver and has a gift for turning complex data into clear insight and strategy. Formerly The O’Halloran Group, Tanya has worked as a community leader and volunteer for many years, contributing to projects and initiatives that promote greater inclusion, wellbeing and dignity for all.

3 Tips in 3 Minutes:
Getting Into the Groove of Working From Home

Randal Boutilier offers 3 basic tips for those who've suddenly started working from home.

  1. Secure one space
    2. Journal your time
    3. Wear your shoes!
click to read Randal Boutilier's bio
Randal has a wealth of knowledge in the nonprofit realm, understanding the key role that design plays not only in day-to-day communications, but in building community and philanthropy. This experience was built from his work at 12thirteen, a graphic design studio in Toronto that creates print and digital materials in the nonprofit sector. As a Registered Graphic Designer (RGD) and an active Board member at RGD, he adheres to a set of ethical guidelines and applies them to his studio practice. He enjoys working with a variety of stakeholders involved in a project – and fosters an environment that is creative and collaborative.

His work passion is to distill complex stories and concepts into compelling and engaging visuals that are easy to understand and desirable to share. When not sitting in front of a computer or sketching out a complex theory of change, Randal occupies his time perfecting his mastery of the hula hoop!

Resilience in the time of COVID

Resilience was a buzz word before COVID-19. Now it's essential as we navigate these difficult times. Hear Cathy speak about resilience, how mistakes do not equal failure, emergence, and KYPU.

    click to read Cathy Mann's bio

    Strategic, action-oriented, award-winning and with a wealth of experience gleaned over three decades in the charitable sector, Cathy takes a hands-on approach to creating measurable and sustainable results for her clients. In 2015, Cathy was recognized by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for excellence in scholarship for her project on the role of philanthropy in collective impact.

    A multi-award winning fundraiser, Cathy is most recently recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Toronto Chapter. During her tenure as Executive Director, Frontier College Foundation won the “Excellence in Fundraising for Small Shops Award,” from the International Association of Fundraising Professionals, representing 30,000+ fundraisers from 7 countries.

    As Academic Coordinator of Ryerson University’s Fundraising Management Certificate program at the Chang School of Continuing Education (from 2008 to 2018) Cathy has influenced the profession and professionals in Toronto and across Canada. With 20 years of teaching College and University students, Cathy brings her teaching experience to every client and project she works on.

    3 Tips for Capturing What We're Learning

    Janet Fitzsimmons, the Manager of Grassroots Strategies at the Centre for Connected Communities, offers 3 tips for capturing what we're learning during this unique time:
    1. Ask the Right People
    2. Ask the Right Questions
    3. Make Learning Reciprocal

      click to read Janet Fitzsimmons's bio

      Janet Fitzsimmons is the Manager, Grassroots Strategies at Centre for Connected Communities. In her 2 decades working in neighbourhoods across Toronto, she has engaged with diverse groups of grassroots leaders working locally to enact social change. Janet is passionate about amplifying the voices of grassroots leaders so that they can influence systems that impact their communities.

      3 Questions in 3 Minutes:
      Listening to systems to find openings for lasting change

      Katharine Zywert presents 3 questions for reflection that are intended to help us listen to the systems we work with in order to find the openings for lasting change created by this time of upheaval. 

      1. What new solutions are gathering momentum?
        2. Who are our unexpected allies?
        3. What stories need to be told and why?
      click to read Katharine Zywert's bio

      Katharine Zywert is a PhD Candidate in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on health system innovations for an era of constrained economic growth and social-ecological instability.

      She finds inspiration in the energy that people across sectors and disciplines are currently devoting to the process of imagining alternative futures for humanity on the planet. She appreciates people who do not rush into action but take the time to understand the complexity of the problem and ask the hard questions like, “How is the way we’re currently working unintentionally contributing to the power structures or systems dynamics we’re trying to change?” and, “What do social and environmental justice look like from where we’re standing in this system?

      3 Tips for Supervising Staff During COVID-19

      Ewa Cerda-Llanos, Manager of Place-Based Strategies for the Centre for Connected Communities shares 3 tips for people who are supervising staff and teams during this challenging and unprecedented time:
      1. Prioritize regular support 
      2. Consider new learning goals
      3. Plan to bounce forward together

        click to read Ewa Cerda-Llanos's bio

        Ewa is dedicated to developing practical and meaningful connections between people, organizations and institutions working to support equity-seeking groups in local contexts. Her work has included the development of the partnership with the University of Toronto Scarborough, leading the implementation of cross community initiatives, networked collaborations as well as other formal long term partnerships while ensuring initiatives are mutually beneficial and that resident ideas are at the centre of new endeavours.

        3 Tips for Community Building through Emergence

        Sarah Luca, Coordinator of Grassroots/Social Sector Connections at the Centre for Connected Communities shares 3 tips for community building through emergence:
        1. Listen, listen, listen
        2. Use and Adapt
        3. Be Transparent

          click to read Sarah Luca's bio

          Sarah Luca is the Coordinator of Grassroots/Social Sector Connections at Centre for Connected Communities. In her role, Sarah engages deeply with passionate and dedicated community builders and grassroots leaders to increase their influence in the decision-making spaces that affect their lives.

          3 Tips for Working at Multiple Scales

          Ajeev Bhatia, Manager of Policy/Community Connections for the Centre for Connected Communities shares 3 tips for working at multiple scales in order to build collective solutions to complex social issues.
          1. Recognize the role of grassroots groups
          2. Find out who is in your ecosystem
          3. Connect the micro and macro of your work

            click to read Ajeev Bhatia's bio

            Ajeev Bhatia is Manager of Policy/Community Connections at Centre for Connected Communities where he connects municipal policy and strategy to neighbourhoods across Toronto to address complex social issues.
            With over a decade of experience between supporting community building work through the East Scarborough Storefront and funding grassroots organizing across Ontario through his previous role at Laidlaw Foundation, he seeks collective solutions working with marginalized communities and rooted in his lived experiences.

            Ajeev is a Master of Science in Planning Candidate at the University of Toronto and a 2018 PLACES Fellow with The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

            openly news

            Openly Joins the B-Corp Community

            Justice, equity and dignity for all is a commitment that’s baked into our company’s DNA. Firmly grounded in these values, Openly uses its talent, time and treasure to elevate the impact of purpose-driven leaders and change makers creating social good.

            The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.

            Read more about our commitment in our B-Corp announcement on LinkedIn.

            Taking Action to End Gender-Based Violence

            Gender-based violence is disproportionately experienced by women and girls, as well as “diverse populations, including Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2 community members, gender non-binary individuals, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors.”

            Read more about Openly’s pledge to end gender-based violence.

            field notes

            Strengthening Youth Entrepreneurship Education

            In October 2016, an anonymous donor partnered with Openly to complete an evaluation of its Youth Entrepreneurship funding priority. They wanted to understand their contribution and impact on the work of their grantees and the field, and to learn about best/ promising practices to inform and strengthen these efforts.

            This document presents our results from an evaluation completed between October 2016 and March 2017. Our findings are summarized with a framework of the needs and opportunities for youth entrepreneurship along a developmental trajectory. We conclude with considerations for funders investing in youth entrepreneurship. A detailed literature review is appended, along with a limited inventory of other Canadian funders and foundations supporting youth entrepreneurship.

            Community-Driven Design Development

            ‘Design by Committee’ is a much-derided term in the design sphere – seen as something that slows down process and limits creativity. In his case study on South Riverdale Community Health Centre’s new logo design, Randal details how ‘Design by Community’ is a more successful approach to involving many stakeholders in the creative process.

            This case study focuses on the development of a logo for South Riverdale Community Health Centre. In it, we show how to engage the community in a design project, and have detailed some of the pushback that happens when non-profits engage in design development.

            Conversations of Substance:
            Youth in Waterloo Region on Issues of Substance Use

            In April 2019, a new report was released from the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council (WRCPC) courtesy of youth who use substances in Waterloo region alongside collaborating partners. The qualitative research was conducted with Openly with funding provided by the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network.

            Openly associate Geetha Van den Daele brought her remarkable facilitation skills to connecting with youth about their experiences with substance use. The conversations were raw and real, and together we turned these into an insight report for the WRCPC.

            Conversations of Substance is part of an intentional effort to engage people typically not included in policy-programming efforts, and will inform the on-going development of WRCPC’s Waterloo Region Youth Engagement Strategy.

            through the periscope

            Mastering Your Theory of Change

            In this podcast from The Good Partnership, Lisa Watson sheds some light on Openly’s approach to Theory of Change development. Connect the dots between what you do and why you do it, and explore how to amp up clarity, strategy and impact in your organization!

            Learn how to amplify your impact as a purpose-driven leader and changemaker

            Tune in to this episode of the Pioneers of Good podcast to hear Lisa Watson and Tanya Darisi share their story of building a values-based, social purpose company. Lisa and Tanya offer insights on the benefits and challenges of operationalizing values, and how this approach guides strategy, decision-making and daily work.

            Toilet Paper Scarcity and Other Money Vulnerabilities

            In this episode of It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask! Cathy Mann has an open and honest conversation with Lisa Watson about how our money values and personal relationship with money – ie our ‘money mindset’ can manifest in the ways we work in the charitable sector.

            Lisa and Cathy talk about the work they’re doing as a team to challenge charitable sector leaders to have courageous conversations about money and how our beliefs around money need to shift for the benefit of the organizations we work with.

            Leveraging the Power of Networks

            If you’re like most nonprofit leaders, you’re devoting significant effort to your networks. But how intentional are you about making your networks effective and impactful?

            Lisa Watson spoke with 500+ nonprofit leaders at Nonprofit Driven 2018 about the power and potential of networks, including the Ontario Nonprofit Network.

            This article offers a few surprisingly simple principles and tools for building effective and impactful networks.

            Never More Alone, Never More Together: Paradoxes of Working in Networks

            Networks have emerged as a transformational adaptation to a continually-changing community service environment characterized by complex social and economic issues, and the needs of a diverse population.

            In this article for The Philanthropist, Kris Cummings traces the emergence of networks and their key capacities, and highlights tensions that may undermine collaborative efforts.

            4 Ways to Build a Spiritually Intelligent Organization

            Our 21st century world is complex and perplexing. The stakes are high. It’s not surprising that, in the face of uncertainty, women and men alike are seeking more spiritual integration.

            Lisa Watson shares 4 approaches for building spiritually intelligent organizations. It’s surprisingly simple but it requires effort and intention.