Naomi Gichungu

Impact Manager - Special Initiatives at The Northpine Foundation
Propel Impact Consulting Fellow (2021/2022)
"As a lifelong learner, I have placed myself in uncomfortable spaces, and in many situations, others have appointed me to lead. In so many of these opportunities, all I had was the determination to learn and the openness to be challenged. These opportunities have allowed me to grow and have led me to a career that gives me great joy, and learning."

What was your career path?

I started off with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Education then took a master's in Development Practice - Indigenous Development. After graduation, I worked in the settlement sector before joining United Way Winnipeg as a Community Investment Manager. My interest in social impact grew from questioning the conventional charitable model sector. Learning about social finance and innovation through Propel Impact Consulting Fellowship shifted my perspectives on how different business models can achieve social impact. At the beginning of 2022, I joined The Northpine Foundation as the Impact Manager - Special Initiatives. My work gives me so much joy, and I work with an amazing team that embodies kindness in all that we do.

How did Propel Impact help you grow?

Before I came across Propel Impact, I had been searching for an opportunity to learn about social finance and innovation for over two years. Propel Impact provided the platform to learn and connect with the Propel Impact team, guest speakers, past fellows, and fellows in our cohort. These folks have become my network of mentors and colleagues in the sector.

What issue do you most want to tackle in the world?

One of my priorities is to shift perspectives on social impact and access to capital in the charitable, private, and public sectors. Social impact and the use of various social finance instruments apply across any of these business models. However, often the public sector gets left out of the social impact conversation and the charitable sector isn’t necessarily ready for the various social finance instruments. Shifting these perspectives will allow us to have a better impact for the end-beneficiaries.