Gather for HER

Gather for HER - flames

During this global pandemic, the need for leaders who can operate within a different framework and capabilities is clear. Leading through global impact requires an up-level of perspective, a responsive set of skills and a clear process to make the best decisions possible.

Gather for Her - is a conversation series to highlight these skills as we wake-up to them, develop and implement them in this unprecedented time calling for our humanity in both stillness and action. How do we lead during an impact?

Leaders face right-now situations, standing on yesterday’s foundation, to lead decisively and directly into the unknown of tomorrow. Collectively our choices carve a path forward, consciously or unconsciously for future generations of leaders.

This series and the conversations found within our media platform, programs and gatherings is our offering to the collective wisdom gathered here as the Story of Us. 

Welcome to Gather for HER.

FREE Registration here.

Reclaiming our Humanity | A Gather for HER Conversation with Jay-Ann Gilfoy


What does it mean to reclaim our human spirit? This is our theme for this month’s series of conversations as we prepare for our upcoming FireCircle 2020 Virtual Leadership Intensive happening April 29/May 1st.

Our first gathering welcomed Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of Vancity Community Investment Bank, a subsidiary of Vancity Credit Union whose mandate in simple terms is to ensure money is put to good use for organizations that are doing good for their communities. 

“Two key focus areas for VCIB are affordability, trying to make sure that vulnerable populations and others have a place to live so they can have a quality of life and with that, environmental sustainability. Our first quarter was the best we’ve had and then all of a sudden this hit, so we’ve been actively working on a lot of fronts:

  1. We’ve pivoted our energy to make sure that we are helping communities thrive. We’ve been able to seed a little bit of money into three different foundations who are going to provide services for people around food, shelter, and healthcare for vulnerable populations in the Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa areas.’
  2. I’m actively engaging with my team, keeping a now virtual organization going at the board and employee level. We have a number of employees in different situations from: pregnant and due any day to young people in Toronto with family elsewhere, and everything imaginable. I am working to keep people employed, fulfilled and supported in the business.’
  3. ‘We have customers affected by this because they are organizations that gather people. The need for social distancing has created an impact on the organizations we support and so we’re working with them to do all the things available to them to get through this period.’

Every day something new happens, so how do we shift and how do we pivot? How do we lead virtually to keep people engaged and deal with the stress and the mental health impact of this situation? I think that’s going to be one of the long term impacts of what we’re facing right now, a higher level of mental health impact.”

What does reclaiming our human spirit mean to you?

  • Getting back to the basics and finding those places we can make a difference. I have a mantra I can do where I remind myself that I have the right attitude and I can weather this.  
  • Using anchor points to keep us focused on the big work we’re here to do when we’re overwhelmed by the unknown. 
  • Come back to who we are and what makes us happy. Celebrate the little wins every day. 
  • Grieve the loss of control. It’s real. Grief is part of the process of learning.

“We’ve all been running at such a pace and it’s an unsustainable path for us as a species. I’ve heard stories from my team. Their life looks like: getting up, getting ready for work, dropping the kids off until they go to after school care, where I pick them up and move them along to soccer, or to dance. They’re busy, I’m busy and then we don’t connect until 9pm at night. We’ve been running at such a pace we’ve forgotten the basics like empathy and connection.

This is a check-in. What are we up to as a species and our connection between ourselves and the land we live with? It’s a good time to reflect on that. How do we want to be coming out of this?  As we’re peering into each other’s houses and everything starts to blur between our personal life and our professional life - all that stuff we carry as important can drop away.”

Closing Circle Offerings

GATHER for HER - graphic 1

From Jay-Ann: We are a resilient species and we will come out of this, and we will be stronger. We will hopefully have learned lessons about who we are and being careful about what we place in the center of our lives and love.  We will gain a whole bunch of new knowledge. We will grow new businesses, and we will become more resilient in the future. I believe we will come out of this as a community and as a world, in a much stronger place. 

From TinaO - Story Tracker: The question is sustainability, and in today’s conversation, the suggestion is: Live as we lead. 

From Christina Benty - Strategist and Moderator: The paradigm of separateness is over. We truly are all in this together. Suddenly the world feels very small.  

From Sharon Marshall - Indigenous Leader and Facilitator: Understanding our connection to each other and to the land. 

And from Charlene Sanjenko - CEO/Founder of PowHERhouse: Unity lives within the word Community. We are rebuilding the community we’ve lost. 


To watch the thirty minute interview in its entirety click here.

Gather for HER is a series of conversations leading up to this month’s FireCircle 2020 Virtual Leadership Intensive happening April 29/May 1st. Friday night’s attendance is FREE and you can register here.

To reserve one of 200 seats for the two-morning virtual conference which is collective in nature, collaborative in-process and consciously strategic for impact, find out more here

One of the things we could do better is track and gather the wisdom among us. We say it all the time in these small conversations, and in our groups, and with our very best girlfriends but are we saying it and sharing it with each other? That’s what these gatherings are about.   - Charlene Sanjenko, CEO and Founder of PowHERhouse, and FireCircle 2020

Today’s conversation was moderated by Christina Benty, Owner of Strategic Leadership Solutions, story tracked by Core Story Specialist Tina Overbury, graphic recorded and Indigenous informed by Sharon Marshall of DEVA, and hosted by PowHERhouse CEO and founder Charlene SanJenko. 


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