Let’s hear it for volunteers!
Aril 17 – 21 was National Volunteer Week, the perfect opportunity to say THANK YOU to the over 230 TSA volunteers that make our initiatives possible. And as part of this celebration, we have shared the stories of five volunteers—so see our posts below to meet Ana-Fransisca de la Mora, Janice Myagi, Rania Matta, Ramy Bakir, and Kevin McIntosh as they tell us little bit about why they volunteer with us and learn about their contributions to our Society. Thank you volunteers!
Ana-Francisca de la Mora
For our first post we’d like to introduce you to our newly elected Chair, Ana-Francisca de la Mora (that’s her to the left of this picture along with Past Chairs Maria Denegri and Megan Torza). Ana-Francisca has been involved with the TSA since 2008, and has served on the TSA Executive since 2017. Wanting to ensure the TSA is welcoming to all, Ana-Francisca was instrumental in launching our first initiatives directed towards newcomers and internationally trained architectural professions and continues to co-lead our signature networking event #TSACONNECT. You’ve also likely seen her in one of our webinars, where she currently co-leads our technical lectures series. This last March, following a 3 year term as Vice Chair, Ana-Francisca was elected as the new Chair of the TSA. Thank you Ana-Francisca for all you do!
“I volunteer with the TSA because it provides an inclusive space to network, talk about our built environment, and inspire the work of architects and other disciplines.”
Janice joined #TSAPride in early 2020 as we were getting ready to plan our second annual participation in Toronto’s Pride Parade. After the Parade was cancelled, Janice helped us pivot our Pride celebrations online: introducing a much broader and robust educational offerings as part of this transition. She continues to be a vital part of the Pride organizing team, helping in everything from big picture thinking to researching and drawing buildings, and even designing hard hat stickers! Janice always goes above and beyond, always encouraging and pushing for a more inclusive TSA and industry. Thank you Janice!
“I volunteer for the TSA’s Pride Committee because in our field we still rely on standards that don’t account for the rich and diverse ways queer folks experience and use spaces. LGBTQI2S representation and visibility in all the planning, design, and construction phases of our built environment is needed now more than ever!”
Always full of energy, Rania first volunteered with the TSA as one our #TSAtours guides, leading locals and visitors alike through the spaces of Toronto’s harbourfront. Since then, Rania’s involvement has grown to include other initiatives including being a featured guest for #TSACONNECT, sharing her experience with other newcomers making their way into the profession in Canada. Whenever we need a helping hand, Rania is always among the first to volunteer and her enthusiasm and dedication have made her an invaluable part of the TSA team. Thank you Rania!
“TSA connects people through their love for architecture and the built environment. As a newcomer, TSA helped me learn more about Toronto’s stories and history and make it my new home. As a volunteer, I hope now to share what I learned and help spread that love for architecture.
For our final post, we’d like to meet the always helpful Ramy Bakir (that’s him taking the selfie!). Ramy is a relatively recent addition to the #TSAvolunteer team, first joining us in the fall of 2022. But despite only having been involved for a few months, Ramy’s contributions have been tremendous helping us in all kinds of events: from the return to in-person #TSACONNECT sessions, our inaugural Kids’ Main Street for #TSAGingerbreadCity, and our first colouring station as part of #ROMAfterDark! Ramy has a can-do attitude and is always the first in line to provide assistance in any way possible. Thank you Ramy—we are so lucky to count on you as one of our volunteers!
“I volunteer with the TSA because I enjoy being part of the opportunities they provide for connecting talented people who are passionate about the design and architectural fields in Toronto. I appreciate being part of their unique programs where I am able to contribute to the creative ideas that its committed members offer to the community. The TSA events always have a wonderful vibe, where people of different backgrounds and age groups come to help and learn from one another. Volunteering with the TSA has been a rewarding, fun, and social experience to me, and I am delighted to be part of such an integral organization to the built environment in Toronto.”
Kevin began volunteering with the TSA back in 2002, becoming a member of the Executive in 2004. Throughout his over 20+ years of involvement, he has played a key role in multiple initiatives including leading the organization of many #TSABASH and kick starting our #TSAtours program. Kevin’s contributions also extend to the back-end infrastructure of the TSA, leading a sustained effort to modernize the Society: from a website revamp to introducing online ticketing, and starting our first social media accounts. He also played a key role in setting the stage for the current TSA staff, establishing the role of the first TSA Executive Director. Kevin currently co-leads our #TSACONNECT initiative and continues to support the TSA’s various ongoing initiatives. Thank you Kevin!
“I always had an interest in architecture and planned to study it until I was talked out of it in 1986 by my architect uncle. Instead, I married an architect! Back in 2004 I saw a need to assist the TSA with my particular business skill set and to help make the TSA more accessible with programming that is geared to the general public and in 2009, with a dedicated group of collaborators, launched the TSA Architecture Walking Tours initiative.”