Impact Stories

Meant to be. Learnings on the Campaign Trail

Sima Gandha shares her journey as a United Way British Columbia Campaign Associate in Fall 2022

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason in our lives and sometimes we don’t have an explanation for it. It may be good or bad but with each comes experience and learning opportunities for growth.

After 23 years in one profession, I needed a change. I quit my job in the summer of 2022, spent time with my three kids, and went back to school at 43. Trust me when I say, it’s not easy. I knew I needed something different but still have the factors that I enjoyed about my profession the most, engaging with people, helping the public, and having that feel-good feeling on the inside. 

In my profession, building rapport and relationships with our patients are key.  This allows for open communication, trust and confidence in the services we provide to the patient.  This may look like a smile, high fives, a conversation, holding the patient’s hand because they are scared, or giving big hugs because they got a new job.  Five years ago, a patient came in that would change my outlook on what giving from your heart truly means. This person has taught me to judge no one, give freely and love unconditionally. I grew up with these lessons but to see someone possess all three and do it effortlessly inspired me to actually do more and do better without any expectation of receiving anything in return because that is what giving selflessly means. I started to volunteer more and assist my friend with work that he’s involved with (United Way, Backpack Buddies, Tri-Cities Untied, community events, etc.)

Blessed to call him my friend, he called me in October 2022 (we talk daily) to say there was an opportunity at United Way BC for a short-term role as a Campaign Associate and that “you would be amazing at it!” I nervously said yes, because this was way out of my comfort zone. I have never worked in any other industry. I have people skills, but no administrative or corporate-level experience. I came into the position mid-campaign, replacing someone who got an exciting job opportunity.  

My experience thus far as a United Way Campaign Associate (CA) has been nothing short of amazing. I am pushing myself personally and professionally, and the feedback I am getting is positive. I have learned a tremendous amount in the short time so far. My Campaign Manager has been very encouraging, and supportive and truly cares about you being successful at what you do. With that type of guidance and supervision, one can flourish.  Entering the office, you can feel the love, Yvonne’s smile first thing (at reception) is a delight to see. You want to be part of a team that exudes positive energy, joy and love for what they do. I truly feel that at United Way and sense it in our work culture. 

My friend said to me the other day, “When I speak to you over the phone, I can hear how happy you are in your voice. I can tell you are enjoying the CA role.” Knowing that this intrinsic joy is radiating through my voice made me feel that I am on the right path and things were meant to be. 

I would definitely recommend this role to others who want something different yet rewarding. 

I am grateful for this experience in many ways.


Sima Gandha,

Campaign Associate, generously sponsored by Scotiabank