Oikocredit Canada Support Association (OCSA) is led by a volunteer board of directors that has responsibility for carrying out Oikocredit's grassroots education and outreach initiatives. The directors come from diverse fields and bring immense experience to the board.
Though we know them professionally through their work, and today, we dig deep and ask them some informal questions to get to know them better and learn more about their likes, passions and other areas of interest. Know your Director will be an ongoing blog series.
Karen Tsang is director of OCSA. She is a risk, governance, and operations professional with experience in financial services, healthcare, government, and not-for-profit sectors.
Why did you join the Oikocredit Canada Board?
I learned about Oikocredit through a newsletter published by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC), where there was a call for Oikocredit Canada Board of Director applications. At the time I was looking for ways to become more involved in the development space, so I applied for the opportunity!
What is most challenging AND most rewarding about being an OCSA Director?
At this moment, Oikocredit Canada is going through significant change, so I find the shaping of a new direction for the organization quite exciting. In this also lies the greatest challenge, which is paving the way forward when there are no “right” answers in the best way to achieve a goal. It circles back to the rewards, however, which is working with passionate, skilled, and warm board colleagues on a meaningful endeavour!
How do you make your day productive - any habits or apps or tricks?
I love this question! I have several habits that I am a fan of. 1) Don’t procrastinate on the “small” things, especially if they are about self-care or taking care of family/home. If a task only takes a minute that I can spare, I just do it. I try to focus on the fact that something is very do-able, and not whether I want to do something to train my mind. 2) If a task is important and takes dedicated focus time, I schedule it in my calendar to make sure I make time and space for it. 3) When I have many tasks competing for my time – I write down things that need to be done. As a heavily visual person (with a not-so-great memory), the “externalization” of items allows me to prioritize and plan, while also freeing up brain-space to focus on the tasks themselves.
What book have you read recently?
I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and wished I had read it sooner. It’s a powerful and moving novel of two women’s lives over the span of several decades up to the 2000s and provides a glimpse into what the daily life for Afghan women may be like. I decided to read it after reading The Kite Runner by the same author a couple of weeks ago, and it has piqued my interest on gender issues in the region, so staring at me on my desk is The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg, which I will start soon!
And finally, who inspires you?
My father’s diligence, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness in all that he does has always impressed me, especially compared to how much of the world operates. And while he has always inspired me, I’m more conscious of how much he has influenced me as I’ve aged. There is always more work to be done!
Stay Tuned next month as we will get to know another director from the OCSA board.