Alli Carr: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada Event Coordinator Alli Carr, who’s also the Founder of the charitable organization Happy Village International. Here’s how she’s turned her passion for working in the non-profit sector into a fulfilling career…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I direct the events and fundraisers for the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada including the fabulous Live Art Gala (our biggest one yet) at the Arsenal featuring EN MASSE and Sugar Sammy coming up on November 12th, 2014.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I founded the charitable organization Happy Village International eight years ago, so my passion for working in the non-profit sector has developed over time. I started working at the CCAC because I have a personal connection to cancer in my family and I want to help the organization grow and meet its full potential.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I am lucky to be working with passionate people who are all working towards the same goal. I live a very busy life, so the pace of event planning lends itself to my high stress, fast-paced and goal-oriented lifestyle. The most challenging part of working for any non-profit is fundraising, but there are so many generous people in Montreal and so many sponsors that say yes. When we do receive donations it makes the challenge worthwhile.

What is one sign that youve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
When my work/life balance is off, I get tired. I am normally the most hyper and energetic woman I know. I always have time to work (more than one job), exercise, see friends and spend time with loved ones. When my balance is off, I usually have to sacrifice exercise or friends.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still involved in the non-profit world and helping people in any capacity I can. I am not myself without lending a helping hand.

What is one major challenge that youve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy. I am a woman with many strengths and skills. When it comes down to performing I feel confident, but maintaining my confidence is a daily task. I overcome feelings of doubt or the pressure I put on myself by slowing down, taking a deep breath, and recognizing that I am only human. When I can step back this way, I am able to re-group, focus, and get back to business.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Happiness is not found in currency. Having volunteered in developing countries around the world, I see that money doesn’t make you happier, but it does make living easier. Success is living your life with integrity every day; feeling good about what you do and who you are. It is about accepting yourself completely. Success is what you put out into the universe, the love you share with the world. And as Chris Hadfield suggests, always aim to be a zero. “If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time.” — Chris HadfieldAn Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Hitting fundraising goals and seeing those funds utilized in programs that help better people’s lives. Working at the CCAC I know that making a $250,000 fundraising goal at our Nov. 12th Live Art Gala will help a lot of families who are affected by colorectal cancer so that they can access our programs and reap the benefits.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take risks. Trust yourself. Don’t assume anything. Learn to let things go.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Chu Chai! I have been a passionate vegan for over 14 years and there are only a few fine dining restaurants in Montreal. I love the crispy ‘duck’ and the five-flavour appetizer. I love being able to have a whole menu of choices as opposed to whatever single option is veg-friendly at a non-veg restaurant. As far as drinking spots, I love pubs and low-key places where I can listen to live music and get carried away with good tunes.

When youre not working how do you love to spend your Me time?
“Me” time is spent working on my own charity, training for races and exercising, spending lots of time outdoors and attending concerts with my man.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Take me off the beaten track and I am happy. I am not a tourist. I love rugged terrain, developing countries and backpacking. Throw in a tent and I am set! My favourite non-volunteer related trip was to Nepal. I was one with the mountains and there were no expats in sight.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
You’re asking a huge music fan so it is difficult to choose just one… but for where I am in my life right now, it would have to be ‘Nothing More’ by The Alternate Routes.

If you werent doing what youre doing, what would you be doing?
First: Performing on Saturday Night Live. Second: Travelling and spending every day in nature, likely saving lives.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Happy Village International (HAVI) – I founded it and care deeply for children living with intellectual disabilities. There is still such a huge stigma around the topic and yet such a need for help and awareness; HAVI aims to reduce disability stigma and increase awareness. I am an advocate for children with intellectual disabilities and doing what I can with my HAVI family to spread the word. And, of course, the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada where I work every day.

What to you is notable?
Simple acts of kindness. We live in a society where we barely connect anymore. We have thousands of friends and social media followers but we don’t call each other or engage in real connections, even when we are directly in front of other people. The most notable acts are those that are not posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. They are random acts of kindness that people around the world do every day without being recognized for it.


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