Karanjit is a seasoned financial professional that has a broad array of experiences spanning mergers & acquisitions, corporate advisory and corporate finance. He has been part of Seva Food Bank from its early days, and has been an active volunteer through various milestone campaigns for Seva.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional Background? What keeps you busy outside of Seva Food Bank?
Karanjit: I have been working in finance for nearly 10 years, primarily in downtown Toronto and working with corporate clients. My current role is with a subsidiary of Scotiabank where I lead a team that structures mid-market lending to help companies achieve their growth objectives.
Tell us a bit about yourself on a personal note? What gets you happy and giddy and excited? Karanjit: Our world is kept very busy with our 2-year-old son. He is the light of our family and motivates us everyday with his laughs and smiles. He seems to be growing up very quickly, learning new things on a daily basis.
How did you get involved in the Seva Initiative? What was that experience like?
Karanjit: My involvement with the group pre-dates Seva as I volunteered with SSC’s Habitat for Humanity projects and tree-planting days. When Seva was established, I remained involved as a volunteer for special events (food drives, Radiothon, etc.) and then later joined a fundraising committee. The more time I spent with the organization, the more I felt like being part of a community. Since I did not grow up in the GTA, I was often looking for a network of like-minded Sikhs to form my sense of community. Seva provided me with that.
How did that transition to you becoming a member of the board?
Karanjit: I was asked to join the Board in February 2016 as part of its recent expansion. The timing was perfect as I was looking to have greater involvement with a community organization and Seva was a natural fit. I was intrigued with the opportunity to participate more actively and build upon its success to date.
What is your Role as a Seva Board member? key accountabilities or function?
Karanjit: All Board members assist in strategic and operational oversight of the organization. My primary contribution to the organization as of late has been Board liaison for Seva’s Advisory Council. The Advisory Council was established in early 2016 and has been a great opportunity for our organization to engage community stakeholders on how best to grow Seva. I have been very pleased to see the enthusiasm and support from our Advisory Council members over the last year. The council has proven to be indispensable and will be a key pillar to our future success.
What is the biggest growth opportunity that Seva has provided you as part of being the Seva team?
Karanjit: I always say that Seva contributes more to my life than I can ever contribute. Through this organization, I have become more aware of the plight of so many of our fellow Canadians that are struggling to have basic necessities. I have also become more aware of the great sense of service our community has for its neighbors. I am encouraged and inspired by the young generation as they have shown an altruistic sense of leadership and strive to make their communities better. Seva has provided my family with a sense of inspiration that is second to none, though humility, service, and sangat.
What is your personal vision for Seva ? Where would you like to see Seva in the long run?
Karanjit: Our vision for Seva is to be the key social services hub for the communities in which we serve. While our primary service right now is distribution of food, we recognize that food security is often a symptom of a much larger problem. Whether it be job loss, health issues, or family displacement, Seva should be in a position to aid our community in breaking the cycle of poverty. I am pleased that we have taken greater strides lately with initiatives such as the home delivery program and the community kitchen. As we continue to battle poverty in our community, these initiatives will be critically important.