About Rev. Denise Gillard

Eighteen years ago, I founded The HopeWorks Connection, a non-profit organization dedicated to relieving poverty and empowering youth through the performing arts and academics.

I had all kinds of hopes and dreams but hardly any knowledge as to what it would take to build an impactful organization.  I was surrounded by a small group of dedicated volunteers with good intentions but just like me, they were beginners only armed with a heart for our cause. 

Each day there were new challenges to face and I often felt overwhelmed. There was so much to do and at times I didn’t know where to begin. Although I was blessed to attend some of the best training courses and leadership programs offered by World Vision Canadian Programs and Arrow Leadership’s Executive Stream the pressures of balancing family life, and the challenges facing the youth we serve, threatened to overwhelm me. 

While some of the most influential leaders in my city would allow me to bend their ear for advice from time to time, there were few non-profit leaders who looked like me or shared fundamental aspects of my life’s experience that I could get support from. 

I had all kinds of hopes and dreams but hardly any knowledge as to what it would take to build an impactful organization.  I was surrounded by a small group of dedicated volunteers with good intentions but just like me, they were beginners only armed with a heart for our cause. 

Each day there were new challenges to face and I often felt overwhelmed. There was so much to do and at times I didn’t know where to begin. Although I was blessed to attend some of the best training courses and leadership programs offered by World Vision Canadian Programs and Arrow Leadership’s Executive Stream the pressures of balancing family life, and the challenges facing the youth we serve, threatened to overwhelm me. 

While some of the most influential leaders in my city would allow me to bend their ear for advice from time to time, there were few non-profit leaders who looked like me or shared fundamental aspects of my life’s experience that I could get support from. 

So, I had to develop a new set of leadership skills, learn the intricacies of the non-profit world, raise financial support, manage contract staff and volunteers, and lead in the development of innovative programming, all while I was raising children, investing in my marriage and frantically trying to maintain a healthy body-soul-spirit balance.  As you can imagine, it was tough! When I look back on these days, I can truly say that I survived by the grace of God.  I made many mistakes along the way, but I take joy in knowing that these mistakes were really learning experiences that are now translated into wisdom. 

Today, my training and experience makes me uniquely qualified to be intentional about three things: 

  1. Inspiring, training and mobilizing churches and non-profits to positively impact their community.
  2. Helping to motivate and build a new generation of not-for-profit leaders to make better decisions and set stronger goals in order to build maximum productivity and fulfilment in their professional and personal life. 
  3. Supporting ethnic leaders in living out their destiny as they work toward maximizing their impact on their organization, ministry, or profession.

Empowering Organizations, New Not-for-Profit and Ethnic Leaders for Maximum Impact through Responsive, Customized, Needs-Based Coaching and Training.

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