This February, all month long, we’re honouring the work of 28 inspiring leaders. Women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.

These are truly women to watch and veza community is so pleased to share their brilliance.

May their stories inspire YOU to rise.

Meet Jill Valentine.

Jill is the founder of UGO Travel for Change, which offers life-changing volunteer experiences, and Dare to be a Dandelion—an organization that uses life coaching and consultation to help volunteers, humanitarians, and social entrepreneurs harness their skills and passions to do good in the world.

She is an author, transformative travel coach, humanitarian entrepreneur, disability sport advocate, travel enthusiast, volunteerism specialist, and mother. Jill believes strongly in being of service to others, and she enjoys helping to enable others to find their way to be of service, and then connect them to service that inspire and fulfill them.

Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur, Jill poured her energy and passion into the nonprofit sector for over 20 years at organizations such as the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and ParaSport Ontario amongst others.  As an avid humanitarian Jill has volunteered thousands of hours of her time for over 30 different organizations both locally and abroad, most passionately within the disability sport arena in East Africa. Currently Jill is a board member of the Toronto Accessible Sports Council, promotes volunteerism for Volunteer Toronto, and launched her book Dare to be a Dandelion as a fundraising tool in the fall of 2017.

Jill sees the immense benefits of volunteering abroad as a tool for personal and global change, and also strives to empower women and girls to step into their own power. She tries to be a role model in this whenever she can, especially as an example to her young daughter. Authentic community and connection are both extremely important to her, and she enjoys supporting others to succeed and find joy.

So tell us, Jill…

What inspires you most? What motivates you to get up every morning?

Knowing that the projects I am working on can make a real difference in the lives of others: both locally, and internationally.

How do you feel that your actions teach or inspire others?

How being of service can enrich and benefit the lives of those you serve, as well as yourself.

What is one change you’d like to see in the world?

I’d like to see more compassion, and resulting action being taken. I would like to see people helping and supporting each other more—both in our own community as well as those far away.

Which of your contributions to date have given you the greatest sense of pride?

 The year I spent in Uganda supporting the disability sport movement, which culminated in me organizing and facilitating the first national disability sport summit.   

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love this initiative!!!

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Jill!

Learn more about her work and stay connected by following her on social media: @daredandelion and @UGOTravelforChange

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Ready to RISE as a leader in your own right?

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