For most of us, leaving our comfort zone is something we like to avoid. But for Aly, our President and CEO, getting uncomfortable is something he looks forward to in the weeks to come.
During September, Aly will be visiting our project countries to meet with our international team and participate in 30 days of jam-packed activities, including inaugurating a vision centre, visiting an avoidable blindness-free village, touring some of our partner hospitals and participating in meetings with our staff, partners and eye health colleagues.
With so much ahead, we’re eager to follow Aly’s travels on social media, as he’ll be tweeting live updates when he can. Follow him on Twitter to stay up-to-date!
Aly will be representing our Canadian team and donors during his travels. “This trip is an opportunity for me to communicate the gratitude of our Calgary team and all our donors to our international teams for the work they do,” he says. “And also to connect our Calgary team with our international teams and strengthen the bonds between us.”
But this trip won’t just be business for Aly. “On a personal level, I’m representing my family. This is a chance for my parents and grandparents to give back to our home country through me. I haven’t been back to East Africa since moving to Edmonton with my family as refugees when I was two years old.” Aly says he’ll be carrying his family history with him as he sets foot on home soil for the first time in years, and it will be an emotional return for him.
We asked Aly what he hopes to leave behind and what he hopes to bring back to Canada…
“What I hope to leave with our international teams is a connection to me, to our Calgary office, so they know that we’re more than just distant names and titles. There’s a fire we share, and we can relate to each other through our mutual passion.
What I hope to gain and bring back is the ability to absorb my experience and harness it as motivation for myself and for our Calgary office, our supporters and volunteers. I want to inspire them, so they know that together we can achieve more – do more to make our mission to eliminate avoidable blindness a reality.”
Aly is looking forward to seeing our work first-hand for the first time.
“I’ll be experiencing the outcomes of the work we do, seeing the results of our team’s hard work and dedication, and seeing the work that our donors have made possible. I want to empower our international staff, and I hope to let them know that they have my full support to continue doing the work they’re doing.
I also want to build new partnerships and strengthen existing partnerships. I want to let the world know that Operation Eyesight is making serious strides towards accomplishing our mission. And to do that, I’m going to challenge our stakeholders – our allies, volunteers, donors – to rally behind us and scale up with us, so we can reach more people in need and make an even greater impact.”
Is this outside of Aly’s comfort zone? He says that yes, it absolutely is – but that’s just how he wants it.
“I want to get a little uncomfortable. I grew up with a western perspective, so at times I’m going to be uncomfortable with what I see and hear and smell. It will all be unfamiliar and different. Communicating will be difficult, which means I’m going to be vulnerable. It will be an emotional time, and I need to be okay with that.”
We wish Aly all the best on his travels. There will be so much we can learn from his experience, and we’re all looking forward to hearing his stories and sharing them with you, our supporters.