Today marks one year at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) for CEO Diana Krecsy. Diana joined the Calgary Homeless Foundation as President and CEO in May 2014. Prior to working at CHF, she was the CEO of the Calgary Drug Treatment Court Society (CDTCS) from 2011-2013 and was instrumental in making sustainable changes that benefited vulnerable Calgarians. From 2005 to 2011 she was the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT and Nunavut. Before her years of leadership experience, Diana was a tenured nurse educator at Mount Royal University for 12 years and has practiced nursing in Alberta for over 14 years.
Here’s what Diana had to say about her past year with the Calgary Homeless Foundation:
Q: Tell us about this past year. What has it been like for you? What are you excited about?
It’s been a motivating year. I’ve learned a lot. It’s been so inspiring to see this caliber of people, working in this sector. I’ve visited multiple agencies and there is a tremendous amount of caring and competency in this city. Calgarians should be proud.
Q: What inspired you to join the Calgary Homeless Foundation?
I wanted to make an impact at a systems level. I wanted to help systems change. As a practicing nurse for 30 years I worked in the system. Eventually, I realized that to make the kind of impact that is going to be sustainable across generations, I had to work at a systems level and so I left my tenured position to pursue that. It’s led me here. I came here because it’s a huge organization with a big job. Everything we do is about these people whose lives can be better. My passion is in helping Calgarians see those experiencing homelessness for what they truly are. Real people. People whose quality of life will improve through our collective vision of ending homelessness.
Q: What were you focusing on this past year and what are you focusing on for this coming one?
The focus this past year has been on ensuring we were adding the highest degree of value to the community. It is critical that we value and support the frontline agencies we partner and work so closely with, to ensure all of us are pushing the needle together to truly serve our clients to the best of our ability, and that meant making some changes. I knew CHF administrative processes had to shift to make it easier for agencies to spend their time focusing on the frontline, with clients. I’m incredibly proud of the frontline agencies. There are amazing frontline staff and agencies in Calgary who have a tremendous amount of talent and competence.
Calgarians were another focus over the past year and will continue to be in the future. Community is the key to truly affecting change and getting the job done. The idea that we’re going to end homelessness doesn’t belong to one agency. It belongs to every Calgarian…there should be no bystanders in this…ending homelessness is about all of us. Ending homelessness improves the lives of individuals and families experiencing homelessness as well as every community.
Q: The Calgary Homeless Foundation works closely with the RESOLVE campaign as one of its 9 partners. Can you tell us what this partnership has looked like over the past year?
This partnership has been inspiring and has proved that collaboration is the key. The incredible thing about RESOLVE is that it is a unique partnership of agencies that are focused on achieving a goal together. We have done more work together with RESOLVE this year to serve our city’s most vulnerable, including the upcoming launch in June of two new affordable apartment buildings. We’re excited to see what we can create together to reach the goals of Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness.
Q: What has the impact been on you, working this past year at the Calgary Homeless Foundation?
I’ve realized how truly fortunate I am to have been born into a family that gave me security and love. It’s not like that for everyone. Why do some people get lucky when others are born into uncertainty? I don’t know. But what I do know is that it gives me a responsibility to be there for those who weren’t so fortunate.
Q: What are you most proud of over the past year?
There are so many things I’m proud of, in particular, the people who are so committed in this sector that they invest heart and soul into a shared vision of ending homelessness. They teach me every day the meaning of commitment, compassion and collective leadership. I’m also really proud of the work done to launch Calgary’s Updated Plan and how over 450 people came together to share and learn and grow and deepen our collective impact.
Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned that continually impacts you every day?
Working with so many dedicated and visionary people has taught me the value of teamwork and the power we have when we collectively work towards a goal of ending homelessness. Their passion and talent ignites my desire to keep pushing towards our goal and to keep building lasting and sustainable social change.