YPDaily: Melody Mendonca

As an innovator, Melody Mendonca has the ability to form excellent positive working relations to engage stakeholders in various NGOs and promote collaboration for a better future with everyone she meets. Continuing to be a happy, satisfied success, read about Melody’s big plans for the future in this YPDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m a project consultant specializing in nutrition and health promotion for the government and NGOs. I currently work with the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) on the creation and dissemination of a nutrition resource for Latin American communities in Canada. At the CDA, I have been recognized for my ability to form effective stakeholder collaborations including gathering external reviewers to provide input on the resource, coming up with the idea and facilitating the formation of a Latin American Diabetes Community Group in Toronto and developing multi-dimensional project strategies.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
The CDA was founded by Banting and Best, the discoverers of insulin. They have a long and rich history in leading the fighting against diabetes through an array of approaches, be it through research support, knowledge translation and dissemination, advocacy work or health campaigns. CDA’s dedicated employees and large base of volunteer professionals who give their time and expertise has created an inspirational work environment for me and I continue to see this as a great fit. My inspiration for this particular career route is that I believe strongly in developing community capacity by working with the community itself. Working as a Project Manager in public health is the role that I find best captures this and allows me to actively showcase my creative side.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I love getting in touch with various stakeholders, engaging and collaborating with them. I’ve learned that anything is possible if your request is sincere and you care enough to give back.

The most challenging part?
To always keep in mind the target population for the resource is made up of people from different backgrounds. Even though they are bound by a common language, their cultures and eating habits vary greatly. Trying to accommodate all of this and make it personable and relatable to each community group is the most challenging aspect.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself working as a Public Health Consultant for government and non-profits organizations in Canada and abroad.

What does success look like to you?
Working at a job that you are happy and satisfied with, to which you can contribute your ideas and be creative. Success is being recognized as an expert in your field.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Meeting an elderly man in a community centre, who use to work for Banting. It made me realize that I was on the right track because things were beginning to come around in a full circle.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Always believe in yourself because you know yourself best. Don’t let others discourage you. Education is the best investment you’ll make and hard work is the most rewarding pay-off. It may sound cliché, but I truly believe this!

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support Oxfam as I have worked for them and have seen what they can accomplish firsthand. Also, since they are a transparent organization, their supporters can see exactly where their aid goes. I also support the World Food Program and the Red Cross, because they are the first line of assistance to millions of internally displaced people and malnourished children. Locally, I volunteer at different events in Toronto such as the International AIDS Conference, the Canadian Association of HIV Research, Brazilian Ball, Booby Ball and MS Walk to name a few.

What to you is notable?
To me notable is inspiring young professionals to keep pursuing their endeavours and strive for excellence. Notable is making an impact, a sound in the forest, a difference.

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