New Faces on the Réseau Compassion Network Board

28 April, 2023 | Profiles

Réseau Compassion Network (RCN) has announced their new board slate for 2023-2024, and we are pleased to be welcoming several new members. Please give a warm bienvenue to Lisa Raven, Francine Deroche and Mala Sachdeva.

Lisa Raven is the Executive Director of Returning to Spirit and her involvement with RCN began as an advisor in that role. She’s pleased to be getting more engaged with the network.

“For me, the big draw was around this idea of reconciliation and relationship building,” she shares. “I saw it as an opportunity to get involved with so many different types of organisations and to get to know them. The connection to the francophone community is really important here, too. As much as there have been relationships between Indigenous and French communities, there’s been division, too. We don’t fully understand each other. And yet in so many ways, we’re alike and share a lot of the same struggles and obstacles.”

Raven also recently received care at St. Boniface Hospital’s emergency department and that experience galvanized her commitment to her new board role. “As an Indigenous woman, I received truly exceptional care,” she says. “I was treated so well, and so quickly. Sometimes the stories that come out are about how horribly people get treated but there is so much good. I want to focus on how good care can be and how good people are.”

She’s looking forward to all growth and progress to come. “I’m excited and I feel welcomed,” she confirms. “We can learn from each other and the only way to do that is to create those relationships. Relationships are never perfect, but they’re a good place to start.”

Francine Deroche finds synergy in her involvement with RCN, as it’s a full circle moment for her. “I initially graduated with a diploma of nursing from the St. Boniface School of Nursing, which was founded by the Grey Nuns,” she shares. “My first job was as an emergency room nurse at St. Boniface Hospital.”

Since that time, she achieved a Bachelor of Nursing at University of Victoria and then a Master of Health Promotion at University of Toronto. Her role as a consultant now finds her supporting organisations as they improve their effectiveness, plan for the future, or conduct research. “I’ve had the chance to work with or volunteer with many network members over the years,” Deroche says. “The volunteer experience at St.Amant stole my heart. It brought home for me the importance of having heart in an organisation, and why leading based on shared values is so, so important.”

Deroche is especially interested to see how RCN and its members will help tackle the impacts of complex poverty in health and social services systems. “We need health services in the traditional sense, but there are a lot of other supports needed,” she reveals. “We need to pay attention to income levels, education, substance abuse and mental health, among others. This is aligned with the work I’ve done on addressing the social determinants of health, and I’m very humbled to be invited to be part of the board who wants to make a real difference in our communities.”

Mala Sachdeva brings a mix of skills to the RCN board. As a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), Sachdeva spent the majority of her career in the provincial civil service, most notably as Deputy Minister of Housing and Community Development, as well as Deputy Auditor General.

Now working as a consultant for her own firm, MS Consulting, Sachdeva has taken a keen interest in community work, especially when it comes to finding homes for those who need them. She is currently chair of the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation 2.0, which has developed mixed-income properties in downtown Winnipeg and West Broadway. “The space that RCN is working in speaks to me,” she explains. “If you look at the current state of social issues and the deterioration of the social infrastructure in the city… the need is clear. I really believe that RCN has a role to play as a leading impact investor.”

Sachdeva is especially interested in housing and services for new immigrants, which aligns with her personal experience. “By the time I was 9 years old, I had lived on three continents,” she shares. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, her family spent time in India and Zambia before finding a new home in Winnipeg. She has worked extensively, both professionally and personally, to welcome newcomers to her adopted home. She was involved in finding homes for 3,000 Syrian refugees as they fled the war in their country, and most recently sponsored Ukrainian families upon their arrival in Manitoba.

“I still remember what it was like to leave everything behind,” Sachdeva admits. “It was really challenging, and we came to Canada voluntarily; we weren’t forced to flee. I know how hard it can be, so if I can help others, I will always try.”