By Pat Laforet – Director, Strategic Talent Acquisition
In the summer of 2005, my wife and I and our two youngest daughters (20 and 22)went on a mission trip to Malawi Africa to build a home for orphans through our Church. It was supposed to be a two week trip, but it turns out that it changed our lives. Our girls grew up before our very eyes, and we saw “behind the curtain” an Africa we never expected.
During the trip we met a doctor from Calgary who had sold everything and moved to Africa about 6 years before to help the rural poor in Malawi. He had a nice complex down by the lake, and we were drawn to his work and his mission. I joined their fundraising team back in Canada, and got to know the organization.
Six months later, I had an idea that changed our lives forever. Both my wife and I had 15 years experience in volunteer projects , my wife had recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Theology and when we discovered the current Country Manager was coming back to Canada, I decided to apply for the job. Six months later we were packing our belongings, saying goodbye to the kids, and we moved to Lilongwe, Malawi. We were there for 5 years where my wife taught in the Bible College.. Lifeline Malawi built a brand new campus, we grew from 22 to 70 employees and in the 5 years saw hundreds of thousands of patients and provided free medical care and free medicine.
When it was time to return, I had the opportunity to accept a director Level position with Habitat for Humanity Toronto. I had kept in touch with my friends at Stoakley throughout this time, and in November 2013, Trevor Stewart called to advise that the woman who had been hired to take over my role way back when, had just announced she would be moving on to another opportunity, and he asked if I would consider returning to Stoakley. I had been quite successful in recruiting, and maintained some of my key contacts, and felt that it would be a good move. I re-joined Stoakley on January13, 2014, and often marvel at the opportunities I have had the great good fortune of sharing. I am looking forward to being of service to many of my previous clients and generating new relationships and making new friends providing the specialized service of team building that we offer.