Anne Connelly: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Anne Connelly is committed to improving access to care for people with HIV/AIDS, a role she’s able to execute through her work with Dignitas International. Her efforts were recognized by the CBC this year, and culminated in her being named among the ’12 Young Leaders Changing Canada’…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Not everyone has the ability to go overseas to help people in need, but it doesn’t mean they still can’t make a difference. That’s what I love about my job at Dignitas International – I make it possible for people here in Canada and in the States to have a positive impact on others around the world.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I’ve always pursued a career that allows me to have a greater social impact. After several years working in the emergency humanitarian field, I was looking to grow with an organization that was implementing programs with a longer-term vision. In April, I started with Dignitas International, a medical humanitarian organization dedicated to improving access to care for people with HIV/AIDS. We are currently doing treatment delivery, health worker training and medical research in Malawi and have put nearly 200,000 people on treatment for HIV.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I really love it when I get to speak with our supporters about the lives they’ve helped to change. It’s amazing how such a small financial gesture from someone can result in such a significant impact on another. Sharing these success stories and showing a donor how they’ve helped is what makes my days so meaningful. The challenge is staying positive knowing that there are still so many people who need access to care.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
The charitable sector is changing rapidly – donors are more willing to take on higher risk for higher reward and are looking for transformational results. In five years, I’d like to be in the thick of this trend and play a role in the end of HIV.

What does success look like to you?
I like to measure success in terms of people, and whether I’ve been able to have a positive impact on each person that I meet, however small it may be.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
This year, I was honoured to be named one of 12 Young Leaders Changing Canada by CBC.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Find a career in an industry that you’re passionate about – and don’t be afraid to leave your current job to do that.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Aside from Dignitas, I support Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada. Having worked with them as a field logistician in Central African Republic, I know first-hand they are a great organization.

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