Passionate city-builder, change agent, & grassroots leader. Meet @IdilBurale #Lead4Canada Click To Tweet
In the lead up to July 1st, we’re profiling five Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area city builders, past and present, who have not only made significant positive impact in our communities, but have challenged us to be better civic-minded, inclusive, and collaborative individuals. Join us today as we take a quick look at Idil Burale, Community Strategy Lead at Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, previously Senior Associate at MaRS Solutions Lab, and one of the GTHA’s most dynamic emerging leaders whose passion for tackling inequity and driving diverse leadership has made her a force to be reckoned with.
In 2007, the University of Toronto’s David Hulchainski’s made a prediction that, if nothing was done to address Toronto’s rising levels of inequity, our city could easily become split into two different cities: one rich, one poor. For Idil Burale, Senior Associate at MaRS Solutions Lab, this 10-year-old prediction may still keep her up at night, but it’s also something that drives her to make change.
A former Queen’s Park staffer and Toronto city council candidate, Burale has been a key strategic advisor on a number of task force committees. These include the Toronto District School Board Success of Students of Somali Descent Task Force, the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, and most notably the Toronto Police Modernization Task Force where she helped design a new vision of policing in Toronto that was more community-focused. Burale’s close involvement on these committees means she’s able to bring her critical and intersectional lens to some of our region’s most pressing issues.
One thing I do to ensure I continue to grow and develop as a leader is to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity. Be comfortable with tensions, they offer insights.
Burale’s passion also extends into a broader mission for greater understanding of the lived experiences of others, learning from and incorporating diverse perspectives into systems level work, and seeing diversity in leadership. Writing for Spacing Magazine, she called for a reframing of how Toronto’s inner suburbs are seen against the downtown, pointing to the complexity of experience and narrative that can be found in neighbourhoods like Rexdale.
It’s this kind of diversity that’s needed at the leadership level. In a profile for the CivicAction Leadership Foundation, Burale wrote that diverse leadership is needed to address major regional challenges, but it cannot just be a “tick-box” exercise.
Being at the table must come to mean more than token representation, but true engagement and empowerment of leaders in all our communities. Leaders, can come with various set of skills and backgrounds and it is through their diversity of lived experience that we can enrich City building with new and dynamic ideas. We must strive to make more spaces fertile for this kind of leadership.
According to Burale, embracing uncertainty, ambiguity, and being comfortable with tension, is where key insights lie. While including diversity into discussions and leadership is key to growing our region, Burale’s work also shows that this diversity should be further incorporated into the actions we take. Moving forward, it’s leaders like Burale who will be at the forefront of positive change for the communities in our region, and we’re excited to see what she does next.
Over the past week, we’ve recognized 4 other civic leaders who have shaped our great region to what it is today. To read more about John Christie Holland, Olivia Nuamah, David Pecaut, and Sylvia Maracle – all featured in our #Lead4Canada series – click here.
Now, help us recognize the next 150 great leaders who will change the status quo of our region! Our Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) would like you to fist-bump a local rising change-maker in your community and tell us why they inspire you with #ELNnext150 on Twitter or in the ELN Facebook group at bit.ly/ELNFB.