For 101 consecutive days, I met a different stranger, learned about their story, and wrote about it on my blog. 101 days later, I’ve become keenly adept at connecting with and understanding people very quickly, in ways I didn’t know were possible. Before you can work well with someone -- be it a client or a colleague -- you need to be able to connect with them.
I had an opportunity to share what I learned on the TEDx stage, here. Ever since, I've been contacted by people around the world interested in starting their own stranger projects. It's a small action but slowly we're becoming more connected to each other in such a dire time of disconnection.
Why you should talk to strangers | Aliya Dossa | TEDxTerryTalks
In January 2016 I co-founded MycoRemedy, an environmental biotechnology startup company creating innovative solutions for cleaning up polluted environmental sites in a completely natural way. Specifically, we use fungi to remediate hydrocarbon contaminated soil sites 90% cheaper and 98% faster than the industry-leading alternatives. As the COO, I focused on everything business development, from strategy to business model to capital raising/management to client relationship development.
In 2015, Canada faced one of the biggest elections in our nation's history. The Leadnow community came together and launched the incredibly powerful Vote Together campaign to facilitate and coordinate getting out the vote and strategic voting plans across the country for a safe climate, open democracy, and fair & strong economy. I joined the team as a policy researcher and campaigner, summarizing key issues from across party platforms to help our voting community better understand the platforms in a simple way. I focused on migration and refugee rights policy.
Youth 4 Tap
Youth4Tap is a cross-national grassroots organization that I co-founded to shift water policy and infrastructure in schools and communities across Canada towards more sustainable practices. In communities where we have access to some of the cleanest tap water in the world, our organization advocates and educates for tap over bottled water, for all of the environmental and economic reasons that come along with it.
Our mission is two-pronged: (a) to support organizations to connect with youth in meaningful ways that provide rich learning opportunities for both the organizations and the youth they seek to engage, and (b) to support youth to be engaged in their lives and communities by promoting opportunities for individuals to come together and actively contribute toward creating a better world. As a part of the founding team, I have worked as a programming facilitator for the past five years focusing on strategies for connecting progressive organizations with engaged youth.
Sustainability Strategy: Special Olympics Canada
I was part of a 5-person team spearheading Special Olympics Canada's first ever national Sustainability Strategy. I managed a team of 45 and together, we implemented creative strategies to reduce our carbon footprint such as free and accessible bike transport for Games attendees. We diverted 68% of our waste and were the first Canadian multi-sport event to practice life-cycle analysis (LCA). Our team was recognized by Canada's Sustainable Event of the Year Award. I co-authored this report to share our successes for subsequent events.
Over the past 4 years I have conducted economic and econometric research through three core projects:
For my econometric thesis, I analyzed data to better understand how climate change and wealth inequality effect international migration patterns globally. My research helps us understand the potential global policy implications of the "climate refugee" phenomenon.
I also worked as a researcher conducting cost-benefit analysis based economic research to intervene the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline project spanning western Canada. My research went towards a formal legal intervention with the National Energy Board of Canada.
Finally, I have worked as a research assistant under NBER acclaimed professor Henry Siu, collecting and collating data on migration patterns in the USA during the Dust Bowl. This research helps us better understand migration flows and patterns in times of climate disasters, both historically and predictively for future applications.
Metro Vancouver's Sustainability Toolbox is a program and resource for upper year high school students interested in sustainability education and leadership. Our small team has worked together over the past five years to design a high school curriculum where students around the region can participate for course credit while engaging with nature and thinking about big problems like how to tackle climate change. I have worked as a facilitator, educator, program coordinator, mentor, strategy advisor and everything in between.
Earlier in 2016, my team's policy submission to the Canadian federal government's Global Affairs Department was selected as top among 80+ bids. We were subsequently commissioned to write a policy brief with recommendations on how government can work with business and startups to promote climate-friendly activity in Canada and beyond. In December 2016, we will be presenting our findings at the capital.
I never leave the house without my journal or my idea book.
Here are some highlighted pieces of mine, published around the web and from my personal blog: