All this week, we are sharing stories of why you should donate Aeroplan Miles to EWB (and have them doubled!) from Sept 18-24. Every year, EWB sends over 40 volunteer Fellows to partner initiatives in Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, using donated Aeroplan Miles.
This past June, Theresa Yuill went to work with Agova (formerly BDSA or Business Development Services Africa), whose mission is to make shared value the new way of doing business. Since 2011, Agova has been delivering management and technical advice to clients in the business sector in Zambia to further the expansion of business models and norms that increase economic, social and environmental prosperity.
Theresa, a University of Guelph graduate whose academic focus had mostly been in international development, signed on to be an EWB Long-Term Fellow, only to land in a relatively unfamiliar sector—business.
As a business consultancy company, Agova takes a deep dive into a client’s business for one year, providing diagnosis and assessment on their current model, and then co-creating a new, more sustainable operation. Agova encourages businesses to adapt a shared value approach which looks at everyone in the value chain, including environmental and social considerations.
But Theresa says her job is actually far and away from what a traditional consultant does.
“Right now I’m looking at different products and services for Agova to offer, in order to grow new revenue streams. My job is focused on looking at evaluating these options and determining which are feasible or desirable, which incorporate our shared value approach, and which will sustain Agova’s business for a long time.”
Even though Theresa’s shift from development to business was challenging at first, she says the experience has helped her grow as a professional.
“I’ve always been keen to be a leader, and my goal is to be a manager — whether it’s in the private sector, business or not-for-profit, this role has helped me develop a lot of management skills. Only a few months into my fellowship, I certainly value my experience here.”
And the fact that Theresa is able to work locally in Zambia, has afforded her opportunities to build relationships with local businesses and partners.
“As you can imagine, this work is very specific to where you are in the world. I’m often meeting with potential partners and making local connections, so to be based locally is important. You need to be here and to talk with people face to face.”
From September 18-24, Aeroplan is matching all Miles donated to EWB, up to 500,000. With your donation of Aeroplan Miles, EWB can send more awesome Fellows like Theresa to support important enterprises like Agova. Together, we can continue creating possibilities and building a better world.
Posted by: Engineers Without Borders Canada on September 22, 2017.