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Pro Spotlight: Feat. Annette Dhanasar

By June 8, 2021August 20th, 2021No Comments

Tell us about your background and what you do

I have been working as an HR professional with extensive experience working across global companies across the North America network including Walmart, FedEx, Bell Canada and at present E Inc with companies (EBlock and Edealer) in Canada and the USA.


How did you hear about Games For Love and what interests you in working with GFL?

I enjoy giving back to through volunteer work in the community in various ways. For example, over a decade, I have been with the HR Connections Program which is supported by the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Immigration and funded by significant corporate donors in Canada. As an industry expert advisor on the panel I contribute towards evolving the program for New International Educated HR Professionals in Canada. Over the past year we have hired three clients from this program at our company. When I came across Games For Love, I was impressed with the transparency and work being done by them. I came across the charity posting on AngelList and was contacted by Nathan Blair, Founder & CEO, he was looking for help in HR. After we had our initial conversation, we immediately reconnected and moved fully into conversation about the challenges and needs for this role, which was crucial to helping the charity to stay on track with its goals.

Tell us about your experience so far with Games For Love

When I joined the Games For Love – Core Team, an immediate area of focus was the retention of our community volunteers, the skills and talent they provide. I focused on establishing a strong team of recruiters who operates on efficiency, enjoys what they are doing and help navigate our new volunteers through the onboarding process quickly. I brought my experience into the organization to help establish much needed infrastructure and build a place where everyone can enjoy what they do at the charity. At the same time, I’m working full time, so I need to make sure we have that balance in how I support the team outside of my work schedule.

I am very pleased to say that it’s been four months since I joined as a volunteer and we have a functional, engaged, organized, and highly efficient People & Culture team which includes six recruiters operating in the space of technical and non-technical recruiting and an HR generalist who supports us with HR projects. We are now hiring for a community engagement manager to focus our internally on our volunteers and a HRIS administrator to gatekeep the integrity of the charity’s HR data we provide to our stakeholders. Building the People & Culture team is about understanding the needs of the charity and implementing the tools and resources to support the goals of the charity in the global marketplace.

Where do you see Games For Love growing in the future?

One of the things I would like to see in the future is for us to be able to project the lifespan of a volunteer. How long is the volunteer staying with us? Are they enjoying volunteering with GFL? The community engagement manager will play a key role in ensuring we stay in touch with departments and projects. If we are losing people early, we need to understand why. Is it because they are not engaged in active volunteer work? Is it because they are not enjoying what they are doing? I see Games For Love doing more planning, growing strategically and doing it through sustainable processes. We are also hiring for hospital outreach manager and the plan is to build out a regional team of hospital outreach liaisons to ensure we dedicate resources to all the hospitals in our network. We want to make sure we are doing it right, and ensure that our volunteers are enjoying the hours they donate to Games For Love by using their skills in areas of the charity to support the goals and mission of Games For Love.

What keeps you motivated?

My ongoing inspiration comes from my family and is further endorsed by the values with which I was raised. Recently I launched my Games For Love fundraising campaign on Facebook and started posting inspirational including quotes and articles for families and children. You can check these out at https://www.facebook.com/UpwardEver/

In this pandemic, relationships have been strained but there is a message for us in this “we have to appreciate each other more”. The time in our own families and bubbles is to figure out what in life needed attention and give it the attention it deserves. When we come out of this pandemic it should make us stronger together in our own circles and personal relationships.


What did you learn from this experience and how do you think it has shaped your perspective on gaming as a whole?

I have been doing research on the impact of gaming on children and young adults and it is becoming more and more apparent to me how powerful gaming is, when used to support mental health. Recently Canada Ministry of Health partnered with the Gaming Association of Canada to help kids use gaming as distraction therapy through the pandemic! I see the dedication and involvement of our project teams and developers in giving back by building games and programs for our charity efforts. I’m really excited about the animation and designs/concept of their thinking. It has definitely given me a different perspective on gaming as a support resource for mental health and wellness.


What are your current favorite video games?

My gaming started Pac-Man many years back. Then things evolved with PlayStation, the Wii, Xbox and Wii U. I do enjoy the singing and dancing games, so I am always up for a game for karaoke with Glee or dancing with Just Dance.


What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love trying new recipes and I love baking. Family and community to me means sharing food and bringing people together! I started taking guitar music classes, however, rarely get the time to play it. I love listening to 80s and 90s music.

Connect with Annette

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Leverage agile frameworks to provide a robust synopsis for high overviews.