Coaching Event – Not-for-Profit Social Services


AUGUST 16, 2022.

“We are hiring all the time!” exhorted Kelli Tonner, Executive Director of the South East Ottawa Community Health Centre — setting the stage for a great information and coaching session about work and careers in Ottawa’s 13 community health centres (CHCs) and community resource centres (CRCs).

She was speaking to participants in World Skills’ Empowering Visible Minority Newcomer Women (ENW) program on August 16, at the program’s monthly career coaching session. The women had all expressed a desire to work in the not-for-profit sector, in social services in particular! Kelli was the perfect coach for them. Kelli built her career in the South East Ottawa CHC, from youth worker to Executive Director. And for the past two and a half years until this June, she was the co-chair of the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa .

She explained that in all their hiring the centres look for “a passion to make a positive difference in the lives of people facing inequities.” This is why they place great value on volunteering. When hiring, they tend to favour candidates who have volunteered in one of the centres. In addition, cover letters really matter in this sector because they allow candidates show their human side.

During the Q&A part of the event, Kelli gave a master class in networking. Clients with questions first had to introduce themselves, to “say a few words about yourself”. After a short conversation, Kelli would say, “I know who you need to speak with!” and offered to connect them.

She wrapped up by reminding everyone that “this is humbling work” for which there is always a job for problem solvers who love helping people find their way to the help they need.

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