Kenneth Edeh is an analyst at the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. He has 15 years experience in policy and government administration, stakeholder engagement, and legislative compliance. Kenneth has a Masters Degree in economics and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Administration from York University. He was recently appointed to the board of Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS).
This interview has been edited and condensed.
You were recently appointed to the board of Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS). Congratulations! What do you enjoy about this new role and what are you most looking forward to?
What I enjoy about this new role is that it provides me with the opportunity to both pay it back and pay it forward to the Canadian society as a member of the board. SAFSS is doing important community work. I believe in what they do – successful settlement and integration of immigrants, refugees, and vulnerable newcomers to Canada by providing them with the tools and opportunities to make valuable contributions to the Canadian society.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help SAFSS continue to fulfill its vision, mission, and goals for newcomers to Canada and the solutions they provide for new immigrant communities.
What contributions will you bring to this board?
SAFSS is going through a process of policy governance renewal and consolidation, including drafting a new strategic plan for the organization, and reviewing and updating its HR, financial, and risk management policies and strategies. I am highly motivated to apply my skills and experience in policy and governance and the knowledge I acquired through the onBoard Canada training program to support this initiative and make a positive contribution to the organization.
What drives you to serve on not-for-profit boards?
I am passionate about not-for-profit boards because as a relatively new immigrant myself, I have benefited from programs and services that non-for-profit organizations like SAFSS provide. I would like to contribute to creating and maintaining such platforms that empower new immigrants to Canada to successfully integrate into the Canadian society. This is a cause I’m passionate about and it is a privilege to contribute to it at a decision-making level. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder how I would have navigated the Canadian system without organizations like SAFSS that support new immigrants to Canada through their programs and services. It would be nearly impossible. So, for me this is giving back and making sure that programs and services for new immigrants to Canada continue because they make a difference – it really helps. I appreciate being able to make difference through serving on a non-for-profit board.
How has onBoard Canada contributed to your board governance journey?
onBoard Canada has contributed immensely to my board governance journey. The governance training program not only provided me with the required knowledge and skills to become an effective board member, onBoard Canada was also instrumental in my current board appointment because they provided me information about the opportunity through the board matching program.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about joining a board, what would it be?
Stop thinking about it and just do it. Seek out and take advantage of onBoard Canada's board matching and governance training programs. The training programs will provide you with the necessary tools and skills to become an effective board member; give you access to resources and connect you with the alumni network. The onBoard Canada platform would also help you gain visibility and provide you with information about board opportunities. For me, completing the training program is a strong signal to potential boards that you are interested and ready to serve on a board.