After 20 years as part of the Réseau Compassion Network, Sophia Ali is moving on, with hope for the future and many teachings from her time here close to her heart. Her most recent role as Executive Director of Aulneau Renewal Centre was a five-year journey that saw many changes, much success and lots to be proud of.
Asked what stands out the most for her, Sophia doesn’t hesitate. “My team. My most amazing, incredible team,” she says. “I always joke that we’re a magnet for hiring the most amazing people in the world, but it’s true!”
During her tenure, there were extensive renovations of their building on Hamel Avenue in St. Boniface, there was a rebranding exercise, and lots of growth in terms of funding, partnerships, and stakeholder engagement. Sophia believes there’s much more to come for Aulneau Renewal Centre, which supports children, adults, couples and families to develop therapeutic plans that meet their specific needs through therapy, education, support, and guidance.
“I have many hopes for Aulneau’s future,” Sophia reflects. “I hope they continue the compassionate culture that we’ve created together, and that they continue to excel at meeting community demand by showing their adaptability, resiliency and courage. With the pandemic, they’ve become experts at that; from one week to the next, our programming has had to adapt over and over again. I’m so thankful for them.”
Just as Sophia is thankful for her team, Réseau Compassion Network is thankful for her. “She’s been such a strong leader, and also easy to work with,” explains CEO Daniel Lussier. “She has led so many changes that have resulted in stronger and better supports for those in our community. When we talk about finding solutions to unmet needs, we can point to all that Aulneau has done in the past five years. We’re sad to see her go, but also thrilled for this next chapter in her life.”
Sophia will begin her role as Mental Health Director at Klinic in early 2022. She says the experiences she’s had at Aulneau Renewal Centre as well as the network as a whole will stay with her. “While I’m not Catholic, I’ve been part of this network for so long because I believe in the values,” she adds. “I have learned everything I know about compassion by working with the people in the network and I’m going to take that with me to this new role.”