In this inspiring episode, I talk to Gurbeen Bhasin who is the Executive Director of Aangen Community – a thriving social enterprise contributing to the fabric of Toronto.
We hear Gurbeen’s inspiring journey. She is true to her lineage in her community building. And – what inspired me most was her desire to blaze a new trail, always say yes and be incredibly resourceful.
She reminds us of how important it is to hold our vision and stay true to it. Her beautifully woven stories remind us that opportunity can knock at any moment and there are some things we just can’t plan for. Prepare to be inspired.
(00:50) Gurbeen’s Bio
(03:54) How Gurbeen’s frustration with existing systems drove innovation
(07:40) How Aangen has been a labour of love over several years
(12:25) Gurbeen had a belief this would happen
(14:29) How Aangen got started
(16:16) How Aangen began to expand (such great stories)
(23:55) Expanding into office cleaning
(28:00) Saying yes
(29:35) Expanding to food service
(32:15) Aangen make half a million meals
(33:34) The impact of COVID 19
(37:44) Getting healthy meals to seniors
(39:02) About self-care
(41:29) Gurbeen’s reflections and thoughts on truth & holding your vision
Mentioned in This Episode:
More About This Guest:
Gurbeen Bhasin is the founder and executive director of Aangen, a Toronto-based non-profit organization that focuses on advancing food security and social justice locally and globally. A trained social worker, Gurbeen established Aangen in 2000, following in the footsteps of multiple ancestors who welcomed and supported community members facing challenges. She and her team run community service programs that help families in crisis access food, shelter and other essentials; and that provides jobs and support services to those who have faced homeless, addiction, mental illness and other barriers to sustainable employment. Aangen funds these programs by operating social enterprises that sell farm products and provide catering and cleaning services. Her primary purpose with Aangen is to foster personal empowerment and nurture communities by responding to community needs as they arise with sustainable and equitable solutions.
Her professional journey has included serving as project manager of a global human rights initiative; senior analyst at the Canadian Mental Health Association; and as an entrepreneur and creator in Toronto’s independent arts sector. Gurbeen holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Windsor, and a BA in Political Science from York University. She is best known for her mile-wide smile, her funky shoes and her mom’s timeless life wisdom.