“We all have much to learn from each other”: Welcoming Philippa Wiens to the CCEDNet team

December 18, 2018

Philippa WiensPhilippa Wiens joined the CCEDNet team midway through this year, coming with a diverse set of skills and background. Since I joined CCEDNet 3 years ago, I have been fortunate to meet our many employees through our annual National CED Conference, EconoUs. Our team keeps expanding with the many projects that we partner on with various organizations. As the Communications Coordinator I’m going to periodically share employees’ journeys and passions so that you know who is helping to foster a network that can strengthen sustainable and inclusive communities directing their own social, economic and environmental futures. Below are 3 questions I asked Philippa.

  1. What brought you to joining us at CCEDNet?

I have worked for most of my career in international development, supporting processes of local community economic development through co-operatives and associations in other countries. It was a privilege and an honour to work with my colleagues overseas and support the amazing work they were doing in their communities. I learned a lot from my colleagues. And as I bore witness to the amazing work of my colleagues overseas, I began to yearn for the possibility of contributing to a similar impact in my own country and my own community. And so when this position came up at CCEDNet, it seemed too good to be true! It was the perfect fit allowing me to move from supporting local community economic development processes overseas, to supporting these processes at home, in my own country.

Philippa testing coffee with Colombian producers in Toronto

Philippa with Colombian coffee producers in Toronto
during her time with the Co-operative Development
Foundation of Canada.

  1. What are you looking forward to most about this new position?

I am looking forward to developing relationships with all of the CCEDNet team cross Canada and to learning about the amazing things that are happening in CED across Canada and also with social enterprises in Canada. I am looking forward to developing relationships with the group of 12 partners who make up the collaborative leadership group which is leading the Social Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund that I am working on. Each of these partners is a key player and leader in the sector in Ontario and Canada and have oodles of experience and learning from their lifetime’s work in the sector. I have been blown away by what they have accomplished thus far in their lifetimes – some of them also raising five or six children in the process!!!! (How do you DO that?!?!) Overall, I am looking forward to a lot of learning, and to meeting and getting to know and being inspired by a lot of amazing people doing amazing things. (Welcome to CED in Canada!)

Note: The Social Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund is a fund of $4.5 million to fund grants of up to $5,000, $50,000 and $100,000 to support social enterprises in Ontario to strengthen their ability to win social procurement contracts and/or social investment to further expand the impact of their social enterprise.

  1. What’s a unique trait you bring to CCEDNet?

I am not sure it is a unique trait, but I am very passionate about and a strong believer in participatory processes, the collective generation of knowledge, and horizontal power structures to facilitate those processes. I also believe very strongly in equality, including gender equality, and have worked for many years in spearheading gender mainstreaming processes in the projects and organizations I have worked with. I consider myself a facilitator, in the sense of helping to bring people together to listen to each other, to share their experiences and knowledge with each other, and to learn from each other. I am deeply convinced that we all have much to learn from each other and much to teach each other, and that this learning can happen in the right atmosphere and context. As facilitators, we can help create safe spaces for horizonal relationships and mutual learning and sharing, with the knowledge of one person as equally valued as the knowledge of other people participating in the process, regardless of background. That is my dream and what I strive to contribute to. I have been witness to amazing stories of personal transformation through participatory processes of collective knowledge generation. It would be amazing to somehow be a small part of such processes here in Canada. 

Tom JakopTom Jakop is Communications Coordinator with CCEDNet, and assists with CCEDNet’s overall communications plan through the website, social media and national newsletters. He brings his web development and analysis experience with him to help increase the strength of our network. Tom also helps with the organizing and promotion of the annual national CED conference, EconoUs, and volunteers for Social Enterprise Niagara.