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T&T NGO Corner Office: Families in Action’s CEO Dionne Guischard

dionne-guischard-families-in-action-trinidad-tobago

Dionne Guischard, CEO, Families in Action

Here’s the first installment in a new series on TTNGONews.com – T&T NGO Corner Office –where we get to know the leadership of NGOs and civil society organisations in Trinidad and Tobago.

DIONNE GUISCHARD
CEO, Families in Action (FIA)

1. Tell us what your organisation does:

Families in Action (FIA) has a range of services, all aimed at promoting and sustaining healthy homes and family life.  Our reactive services – those that seek to help people in crisis – include our Counselling, 24-Hour Hotline, Addiction Support and Domestic Violence Support.  Our proactive services – which seek to prevent crises – include our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Parenting and Youth Education Programmes.” 

“We serve people of all ages from across Trinidad and Tobago, for in addition to our head office in Port of Spain (POS,) we also have sub-offices in Arima and Point Lisas and a large network of consultants – to whom we refer clients – across the country.”

2. What was your personal-professional path leading to this organisation?

“I’ve been CEO since August 2016 and Acting CEO for four months prior to that. However, my journey with FIA started in 2002 when – fresh out of completing my BSc Psychology at UWI – I was offered a temporary position as Receptionist – holding on for the permanent staff who was on leave. I took it and never looked back! As the Receptionist I learnt so much of the work of the organization and believed in its mission. 

When the Receptionist returned from leave, I was retained and worked closely with the Youth Education Department – getting the opportunity to go out to schools and observe that team in action.  I loved that work and was excited the first time I was asked to lead a training session at a school.  I was more excited when I officially became a member of that team in 2003 – the same year I became head of that department.

In 2004, I left FIA to pursue other opportunities but returned in 2006 – having recognized the work of Youth Education and of FIA is my calling.  In 2016, I was promoted from Youth Education Manager to CEO.”

3. What’s the most challenging part of your job?

“Even though – by most standards – FIA is a small organization, we have such a broad range of programmes and services and therefore a multitude of stakeholders – beneficiaries, funders, clients etc.  As such, the most challenging part of my job is ensuring that all stakeholders’ needs are met in a timely and quality manner and that they are not neglected.  We have a great team of department / programme leads, who also work on ensuring that this is achieved.”

4. What’s the best part of your job?

“The best part is working with the FIA team.  We have a group of people who are loyal and committed to the organization and the work that we do.  We have team members who have been at FIA almost since the organization’s start.  They help to ensure that we keep on track towards our founder’s vision.  The best part of my job is seeing how the work of our team impacts the lives of our beneficiaries / beneficiary communities.”

5. What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector?

“I’d advise anyone interested in working at an NGO that while in the long term the work is very rewarding, it requires a high level of commitment and an ability to multi-function as you are often required to undertake responsibilities well outside of your job description.  Before joining any NGO, ensure that their mission and work are aligned to the kind of impact you want to make.”

Learn more about Families in Action at http://www.familiesinaction.net and https://www.facebook.com/fia.familiesinaction. Families in Action is also the 2015 winner of the JB Fernandes Award for NGO Excellence.

Are you an NGO leader and want to be featured in this series? Write to us at info@ttngonews.com!

5 Comments on T&T NGO Corner Office: Families in Action’s CEO Dionne Guischard

  1. Vikki Ramdass // January 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm // Reply

    Noted, thank you.

    Kind Regards,

    Vikki Ramdass.

    ________________________________

    Like

  2. Ambica Medine // January 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm // Reply

    Good Day

    I introduce myself as Ambica Medine, Senior lecturer at COSTAATT and DBA candidate in the field of social entrepreneurship.

    As part of students requirements in the BBA programme, they are required to work with and to write case studies on the works of NPOs in T&T. Some of these papers are really good.

    Is it possible for us to discuss sharing some of this work to the general public?

    Looking forward to hearing from you

    Ambica

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. Great series! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and look forward to more!

    Like

  4. Michelle K. Agard // January 25, 2017 at 5:17 am // Reply

    Congratulations Ms. Guischard !
    This highlight adds to my existing admiration of the excellent job you and your staff does on a daily basis to ensure that love and support are given to needing families, igniting hope in the hearts of all citizens in these very challenging time in our country. I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with you, as the Educational Consultant of The Healaton Foundation during planning for our 1st Annual Walkathon in aid of abused women and children in Trinidad and Tobago, and this article certainly not only puts a face to the vision but speaks to your commitment to providing exemplary service. Keep up the excellent work, as always you have our 100% support, and may all our efforts continue to produce positive and long lasting results.

    Sincerely,

    Michelle K. Agard

    Like

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