Session Description

We all face adversity – some more or less than others. But how do we keep things moving forward when we are facing real challenges in our personal life? In this important conversation, Cathy Mann, Josh Bowman and Kimberley Blease will all talk from experience about keeping your head above water professionally when you feel like you are drowning. Our discussion panel are not experts or therapists – they are successful fundraisers who have risen above all of these challenges and more to have successful careers in this sector. What strategies can help people move forward in the face of personal crisis? Coping comes in many different forms – but it doesn’t mean it has to be career ending or limiting. Be a part of this important discussion, moderated by Jaya Mootoo, a fundraiser who has faced her own challenges in her young life to explore the strategies that enable us to keep positive and keep focused in times of challenge.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Life can throw you a curveball when you least expect it – be ready with some strategies that may help you think differently

  • Open your heart and your head up to other peoples' strategies for coping and how they may or may not be helpful to you

  • Understand that everyone goes through things and everyone struggles – but see how others are working with these challenges everyday to try and make a difference

Kimberley Blease

Executive Vice President

Blakely Inc.

When it comes to building high-value donor relationships, Kimberley’s energy, enthusiasm and original thinking is unparalleled. With over 30 years of experience in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, Kimberley is a fundraiser and marketer who believes in building high value donor programs from the ground up. She helps not for profit organizations raise the bar on the experience their donors receive and inspiring donors to do more in the process and raise more money by building real relationships with donors. In her role as EVP at Blakely Inc. she brings vision and proven strategy to the clients she works with and to the teams she leads. Kimberley challenges her fundraising colleagues to think and act differently to achieve more.

Josh Bowman

Senior Development Officer for the Faculty of Engineering

University of Waterloo

Josh Bowman, CFRE is a blogger, fundraiser, and comedian who has consulted and worked in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, and now Kitchener-Waterloo for well over a decade. Josh has raised millions of dollars for arts organizations, humanitarian and environmental charities, and universities. Josh is the current Senior Development Officer for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo and recently helped to close a $100 million campaign for the Faculty. Josh writes for the Huffington Post and has been published online at, 101 Fundraising, Hilborn (, and a variety of other blogs.

Cathy Mann, MA, CFRE


Cathy Mann & Associates

Recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Fundraising Professional award from AFP, Toronto, Cathy is President of Cathy Mann & Associates where she helps clients develop build sustainable development programs.  For a decade, until 2018, Cathy influenced fundraising professionals in Toronto and across Canada in her role as Academic Coordinator at Ryerson University’s Fundraising Management program. As an instructor, Cathy was known for breaking down complex matters into achievable actions.  During her 5-year tenure as Executive Director, Frontier College Foundation received the 2007 Award for Excellence in Fundraising for Small Shops from the International Association of Fundraising Professionals. Cathy is an active volunteer and frequent speaker. With AFP Toronto, she held many roles:  V.P. of Professional Development, mentor and founder of the Diversity Committee which evolved into the Inclusion and Equity Committee. Occasionally, she plays her ukulele in public.

Jaya Mootoo


Cram a Cruiser Food Drive

Jaya Mootoo is a detail-oriented and driven professional, poised with an entrepreneurial flare for seeing potential, identifying opportunities and reaping results.

Jaya Mootoo has created a successful, globally recognized fund-raiser: “CRAM-A-CRUISER FOOD DRIVE AND FUNDRAISER”, now being implemented by Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and numerous other Police services across Canada and the United States of America.

Having recently completed the Event Management Diploma program at Humber College, Jaya continues to enhance her experience by further developing her skill set through the Fundraising Management Post Graduate Certificate program, also at Humber College (graduating in 2019). Recently, Jaya was featured on the Goldie Company, being a reciepent of the Kevin Allen Scholorship for Excellence in Fundraising.

With over 15 years of social service and community development experience, including working with women, youth, and children who have experienced domestic violence and volunteering with police services, Jaya currently creates community engaging and fundraising events for the non-profit community in Peel Region.

Amanda Rocheleau, BSW, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Compassion Fatigue Specialist

Amanda Rocheleau is a Registered Clinical Social Worker, Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Public Speaker.  After more than 10 years of experience working with individuals experiencing mental illness, traumatic stress and substance use disorder, she shifted her focus to providing support to other service providers as well. Today, she has her own private practice based out of Ottawa, where she offers counselling and consulting services for personal caregivers and helping professionals within healthcare, social services, education and public service settings. Amanda has been featured as a speaker and trainer on positive workplace practices and personal well-being for over 200 professional and conference groups.