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Meet our Principal Consultant Rudayna Bahubeshi!



We're thrilled to welcome Rudayna Bahubeshi (she/her) as Evenings & Weekends' new Principal Consultant!


As a social justice advocate with a long history of leadership both in and outside the nonprofit sector, Rudayna will provide strategic leadership to our consultancy, develop client relationships, and support our team members to thrive.


We asked Rudayna a few questions about the values that she brings to our work, the importance of public policy as a tool for change, and her own dreams for a healthier, more equitable nonprofit sector.


Hey Rudayna! Tell us a little about the skills or perspectives that you bring to your work with Evenings & Weekends.

Hey! My name is Rudayna, which is an old Arabic name. I am Eritrean and Yemeni, born and raised on unceded Algonquin territory and living in Tkaronto. 


My work is grounded in building trusted, reciprocal relationships, and I think this ability is my greatest strength. Much of my career has focused on writing and communications, building partnerships, and in the last few years, it has focused more on implementing policies and programs. I’m passionate about supporting others' leadership, by building teams and fostering environments that enable people’s talents and skills to shine, creating safety and fulfillment. 


I have worked in a range of sectors and areas from environmental sustainability, social innovation, food security, philanthropy, civic engagement, gender justice, health equity, housing, and beyond. This diverse experience provides me with a rich understanding of pain points and opportunities across many sectors, and a broad network of colleagues to look to and collaborate with. All of my work is tied together by a clear focus to advancing equity and justice, which is one of many key reasons I was so keen on working with Evenings & Weekends.


Most recently, I worked in health system planning at Ontario Health, leading the implementation of our Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism framework, with a focus on the province’s first Black Health Plan, an emerging 2SLGBTQIA+ health strategy, and advancing, measuring progress, and reporting against our Annual Equity Plan. My move to healthcare was directly shaped by my personal experiences. I have lived with mental illness most of my life, and from a young age had really traumatizing experiences of anti-Black racism in healthcare. 


I’m excited about how a role with Evenings & Weekends enables continuing to work across the many sectors I’m interested in, in a role that applies my talents, in the pursuit of eradicating racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of oppression, in the knowledge that more is possible and more is necessary.


In your mind, what would a thriving nonprofit sector look and feel like?

It would look like a sector where we pursue accountability and growth, rather than hide from it. I think there is a lot of stress in appearing to get something wrong, but the worst thing isn’t to make a mistake. It’s to be dishonest, opaque, and fail the communities you serve.


A thriving nonprofit sector appreciates that the "how" matters just as much as the "what," and by this I mean we can’t harm workers to reach an end goal. It would look like decent work practices with fair wages, pay transparency, wellness days, meaningful vacation policies, and opportunities to grow. 


It’s a sector where we recognize models of traditional charity, where one party is always in a position of power to give and another always receives cannot be the limits of our dreams for a better world. It's a sector that understands systems are interconnected with compounding impacts, i.e. one cannot be unhoused and have good health, meaningfully employed, or able to access education. And therefore, we must work across the confines of our own organizations. It is a sector that recognizes we need rigorous anti-oppressive frameworks, that understand how forms of oppression are tied to one another, and liberation requires dismantling all of them.


You recently completed graduate studies at McGill University's Max Bell School of Public Policy. Can you talk about the role of policy as a tool for equity and justice?

There is a long history, and present, of policies that have created harm and suffering, and not always as an unintended outcome. My grad research focused on anti-Black racism in Canada’s rental market. Research demonstrates how racism was at times a central feature of planning cities, we also know how  government policies and decisions destroyed Africville, Hogan’s Alley, and other communities. 


Policy change was also critical to more responsive approaches in COVID-19, where initial, one size fits all approaches were irresponsible and demonstrably failing, and particular regions and populations suffered disproportionately.


Policy design that engages communities in the solutions they know are effective is critical to systems change. I also think it’s critically important for a thriving non-profit sector for organizations to recognize advocacy and policy change are critical levers for creating change, and cannot simply be shied away from. 


A thriving nonprofit sector is one where people can’t be penalized for engaging in advocacy and policy change to advance equity and where people can’t be made afraid to utter statements in defense of human rights, like, “Palestine will be free.”


What excites you about working with this team?

Before joining the organization I had heard such incredible things of the people who work here, in and beyond their work with Evenings & Weekends. I admire the incredible range of talents and experiences held by those on the core team, and the wealth of experience and expertise present on our extended team.


I feel really honoured to be trusted in this leadership role and welcomed so warmly. I’m really excited about the collaborative community I’m finding here. I’m also really excited about the diverse nature of the work, and the projects we get to support from so many organizations doing critical work. 


What do you find rejuvenating outside of work?

I would say being outside but I’m a very anti-cold person, so it depends. But when my bones aren’t hurting from the elements, I love to hike, be in water, travel, and sit in parks. I am rejuvenated by time with loved ones. I enjoy reading, napping, and eating.


I’m also really rejuvenated by work in the community. I think it’s so common to feel frustrated or disillusioned, but your people will really help keep you grounded and going.


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Interested in learning more about our work at Evenings & Weekends? Contact us for a free consultation.

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