The Hunger Project Canada - Leadership
Malgorzata Smelkowska,Melanie Klein, April Burrows, Don Kason, Penelope Long, Lillian Adamakis
The Hunger Project Canada is governed by a committed Board of Directors who are all passionate about The Hunger Project's mission to see the end of chronic persistent hunger. They are also lucky to have a dedicated two person staff.
Malgorzata Smelkowska joined The Hunger Project staff in 1991 and was named Country Director in 1995.
She is a graduate of the College of Economics and the College of Midwifery in Wroclaw, Poland.
Prior to moving to Canada, she lived and worked in several countries in Europe gaining experience of different cultures. Malgorzata brings her experience and passion to the expansion of The Hunger Project in Canada.
Malgorzata traveled to villages of Bangladesh and Senegal to experience first hand the impact of The Hunger Project's work. This experience enables her to share the depth of partnership and interconnectedness between investors and people in the villages.
Malgorzata lives with her husband and son in Toronto.
Coordinator, Fundraising and Administration
Melanie Klein has an academic background in Business Administration, Climate Change Studies, and International Development. Her true passion lies in international development, particularly around food security issues.
Prior to coming on board as the Coordinator, for Fundraising and Administration, for the Hunger Project Canada, Melanie worked as a consultant for the Convention on Biological Diversity under the United Nations. She has also worked in Switzerland as an intern for the Green Economy Initiative with the United Nations Environment Programme.
In India, Melanie worked for the NGO Initaitives of Change with rural farmers to talk about the importance of seed saving of indigenous crops. Melanie has also done some energy security work in Central America during her time with Semester at Sea. Melanie is a fan of yoga, playing the violin, and cooking. She is excited to be a part of the Hunger Project Canada team and looks forward to making a positive impact in the world.
President / Chair
April is the visionary behind FLOW Office Wisdom, a social enterprise, Certified Benefit Corporation based in Guelph, Ontario. April specializes in creating and working for change. She looks for the potential in people, and is most satisfied when she can empower others to tap into their personal passion and energy.
April’s greatest strengths are in strategic thinking and team-building. She has experience as a mediator, facilitator, general manager and entrepreneur. Her wide breadth of experience in her professional and personal life lend many skills that will benefit The Hunger Project Canada and she is excited to use them for this purpose.
What draws April to work with The Hunger Project Canada is the organization's focus on empowerment and their women centric strategies and philosophies. A true believer in the idea that raising women up will help to change the world for the better, April is thrilled to be on board with an organization that sees that as a key part in ending world hunger.
"Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context." Margaret J. Wheatley
Co-Vice Chair / Treasurer
Donald is a progressive executive with over 30 years’ experience in the real estate industry. He is currently the President of the Canlight where he brings broad-minded insight, critical to integrating contemporary development thinking with new sustainable ways of living in the 21st century.
Donald's passion is finding ways "to making people’s lives work better” through outstanding customer service and being remarkably thoughtful. His strengths include strategy, financial structuring, urban planning & design, motivating leadership, conflict resolution and micro & macro socioeconomic issues. Whether managing communities, developing properties or investing in real estate opportunities, Donald believes in building value for his clients, investors and tenants, and for the greater community wherein he operates.
Donald has been involved in various capacities with The Hunger Project since 1993. “I am empowered by the incredible leverage THP’s programs have in changing the outcome of so many people’s lives by providing them with the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. I am inspired by THP’s focus towards the root cause of hunger, rather than famine relief aid”
Donald has a BA in Economics, an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies, is a Chartered Professional Accountant and currently enrolled in a Masters of Urban Planning at Harvard University.
Co-Vice Chair / Secretary
Penelope has had a diverse working background in her 66 years, from working on farms in the summers as a teenager, to 25 years working in management for a large corporation on the west coast of Canada. Of all her various responsibilities, Event Manager was her true passion. In addition, she participated with various organizations on a volunteer basis.
She has been an investor in The Hunger Project for over 15 years. What has kept her committed to this particular organization is its’ unquestionable commitment to empowering/supporting people to create their own ideas and initiatives for their community’s sustainability and growth. For her, The Hunger Project comes from a trust in people's ability. For them to identify what is inherently missing in their particular culture or community , what’s needed to correct that, and being in action to have it happen.
“There are times when it’s appropriate to help/rescue people, like throwing them a rope if they’ve fallen off a cliff. However, this approach is too often used when dealing with people and their circumstances. It does not bring about long term solutions.”
Lillian Adamakis has specialized in Toronto residential sales since 1979. Her success is largely due to the impeccable client service she provides. The result of her dedication to her clients has been a strong referral network of satisfied past customers who have made Lillian their real estate consultant for life.
Lillian enjoys spending time with her great nieces and nephews, of which she has six. Her family and two kittens are very important to her. She also enjoys travelling the world and has been a variety of countries. She also enjoys practicing yoga.
Lillian became a financial family member and investor to the Hunger Project in 1983. After having met Malgorzata, the Country Director of the Hunger Project Canada, at a communications workshop, she was invited to New York to learn more about The Hunger Project Global. Lillian was amazed by the South East Asian women’s life stories and saw the difference that The Hunger Project made in people’s lives. Since then, she has invested significantly both financially and with her time to the Hunger Project, knowing that her money and time is making a difference. Lillian continues to be devoted as a director on the board and committed as an investor.
Flow Office Wisdom
Flow Office Wisdom is a social enterprise and registered B Corporation specializing in virtual administration and business management. 10% of their gross income is allotted to paying their team members to serve organizations such as The Hunger Project Canada.
Flow currently assists us with web and social media management, presentations, event planning, and fundraising. To learn more, check out their website.
Canlight is an innovative real estate investment/management company that strives to make people’s lives work better by providing outstanding customer service and being thoughtful. It provides comprehensive services to Condominium, Residential Rental, Non-Profit, Institutional and Commercial Investment clients. The Canlight team has deep industry knowledge, exceptional critical thinking skills and is ready to help manage communities and investments.
Canlight has partnered with The Hunger Project Canada because of its vision of empowering people to end their own hunger. Canlight provides office space, office supplies, legal support, fundraising support, and consulting services gratis to THP Canada. To learn more, check out their website.