Cynthia and Humaira

Cynthia and Humaira



Each year we present the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award at the Volunteer Manitoba Awards. Like many other special events this year, COVID-19 delayed the awards ceremony that was set to take place in April. Thankfully, the folks at Volunteer Manitoba were able to pivot and are bringing the celebration to us online on November 18th via Facebook Live. 


Regardless if we come together in-person or over our computers, we at Spark always look forward to this day because it gives us a chance to recognize our volunteers and the impact their work has had on the community, as well as celebrate volunteerism throughout Manitoba.


From now until awards night, we are celebrating these nominees for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award, and their contributions to their community through a series of volunteer profiles.


Today we are profiling Cynthia Drebot!


Cynthia is the Executive Director of North End Women’s Centre, and has been a Spark volunteer since 2018. She met with Humaira Jaleel of the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute (CMWI) and agreed to be her Executive Director mentor. 


The CMWI assists refugee and newcomer women and their families socially, economically and spiritually with programs like The Cutting Edge sewing training program and social enterprise. 


Humaira was a new ED and contacted Spark, feeling she would benefit from a year long mentorship. Cynthia knew personally that becoming an Executive Director can be a difficult transition without support. 


“ I found my first few years as an ED to be challenging as there are very little supports in place to learn your role and discuss with others due to the nature of the role,” says Cynthia. “Providing an opportunity for a new ED to have a place to discuss, strategize and connect seemed like a good way to help support capacity building in our sector.”


With Cynthia’s help Humaira was able to gain knowledge and confidence quickly, and in turn expand services and greatly increase capacity in her organization.


“She was very reachable. She listened carefully to the issues and challenges I was facing in an expanding organization. She provided advice and challenged me to take bold steps within my comfort zone,”  says Humaira. 


Congratulations on your nomination, Cynthia! We thank you for volunteering your skills and experience to mentor a community leader.


Interested in learning about other nominees? Check out our profile on Dennis Dyck and his work with SSCOPE.


-Article written by Colleen Simard