AMSSA Diversity Awards Recipient – Mandy Channa
To know Mandy is to know that she will take you on a journey of many life stories of perseverance, of fortitude and of inspiration. Mandy was a single working mother in a small town in British Columbia. She was so very proud of her ability to be a professional woman of colour working in a hospital as an Occupational Therapist. It might be that there are others who lead movements of diversity and inclusion, but Mandy lived her life with the conviction that diversity and inclusion matters for all people of various cultural backgrounds and for all people of different capabilities. She lived her life truly with her values of inclusion.
When I first met Mandy, she was looking for a volunteer opportunity. She had recently moved to Vancouver to care for her grandchildren. As with all of her life, Mandy was looking for a way to connect and give back. Mandy wanted to lead a group to talk about current events. It was not the typical type of activity newcomer volunteers want to lead. But Mandy knew that to talk about current events was to talk about diversity and building welcoming and inclusive spaces for all. Mandy led the Conversation Circles and proved to us about everyone’s ability to engage in conversations about diversities in life.
Mandy went on to serve a term on the CCNH Community Board and found a new place to share her stories of diversity and inclusion. The Board learned firsthand about the stereotypes and biases that so often is imposed on South Asian woman. After her time on the board, Mandy continued in her volunteer efforts to focus on the needs of seniors. She led exercise classes for South Asian woman and eventually served as a member of both the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and the Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House Seniors Hub Councils where her leadership and commitment have led to new and very successful seniors' programs being developed that are aimed at addressing isolation, and inclusion and diversity.
I used to wonder what it would look like to live a life where diversity and inclusion mattered. That life is how Mandy Channa lives her life. Her friendships are wide from people of many backgrounds. She is a powerful woman of colour who has lived her life with pride. She is an inspiration of what can be achieved.
For more information about the AMSSA Diversity Awards visit their website at