Parkdale Queen West Community Centre executive director Angela Robertson on how Lai and Associates made AGM vision a reality
“Executive Director Angela Robertson, delivers a key point to online audiences”
When you think of a grassroots charity or a health care centre found in the inner city, implementing sophisticated virtual tech solutions isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But throw COVID into the mix, and innovative technology becomes a necessity.
Toronto’s Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (PQWCHC) provides health care to people who are low income, experience the stigma of mental health and substance use, the LGBTQ community (particularly people who identify as trans), seniors, and new immigrants. At their Bathurst location they support people who identify as Indigenous, First Nations and Metis, many of whom have experienced homelessness, are unsheltered, and need culturally responsive care and support.
Using professional cameras to deliver the highest broadcast quality.
During the pandemic PQWCHC took on the mammoth task of providing COVID testing and vaccinations at their centres. They also carry out harm reduction work at a COVID recovery and isolation hotel for people who are unsheltered. Mainly, they’re part of the glue that binds a vibrant Toronto community together. The work PQWCHC does is essential, so they had to pivot quickly to supply their clients with proper care when COVID hit.
Audiences attended the AGM and even voted, right from their mobile devices
“The AGM is an opportunity to bring the community together, to share a meal, and to provide an update on the work we’ve undertaken for the year,” says PQWCHC executive director Angela Robertson, “We come from a space where we’re [usually] in person. We do in-the-flesh engagement. We had a vision and they worked to make it a reality.”
The challenge for the 2020 AGM was to nurture the community within a virtual meeting, while making it accessible to people who weren’t tech savvy. That’s where Basil Lai and Rondha Ramdeo-Lai, Lead Consultants at Lai and Associates, entered the equation. They stepped in to support and run the AGM, supplying the foundation of a great meeting.
Lai and Associates came together with the team at PQWCHC to combine a Zoom broadcast experience, a top-notch filming operation, and professional communications preparation (including a script and a dry run) to launch the event without a hitch.
“We had a vision and Lai and Associates worked to make it a reality.”
Rondha Ramdeo Lai and Srishti Jaiswal at the controls.
“We needed to make it simple, easy to navigate. That was the beauty of working with Lai and Associates,” Robertson says, “They created movie production quality. With the click of a button, you’re in. Our members were like, ‘I can’t believe this is Parkdale Queen West!’”
Robertson and her team were so happy with the production they made sure to secure the services of Lai and Associates for their 2021 AGM. Robertson says the hybrid meeting model was so successful, she wants to keep it going in a post-COVID world.
Board President and Chair, Lisa Druchok delivering opening remarks for the virtual AGM
“This has been a new terrain for us as a Centre. [Lai and Associates] made the transition an easy transition,” says Robertson, “In fact, they’ve made it so easy that we want to retain it.”
And those meals the PQWCHC community didn’t get to share? They did the next best thing: the Centre provided grocery store gift certificates to its members so they could grab a meal and break bread virtually.