Session Description

Based on the successful panel discussions at IFC in Amsterdam and AFP Congress in Toronto last year, this panel will continue the conversation about organizational culture and its impact on our ability to raise money and positively support our teams to do great work.

Congress 2019 is a perfect continuation of this discussion because so many fundraisers face real challenges in making change and persevering in the face of difficult organizational cultures. This session will help people build and facilitate great cultures – cultures that enable people to do their best work, raise the most money and grow as individuals despite challenges and obstacles.

Through this dynamic panel discussion, this session will look at how organizational cultures are enabling people to do more than survive – they are ensuring that people thrive and succeed. It is our cultures that support people’s ability to do more with less, to innovate and thrive.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will discuss barriers to building cultures and systems that impact people’s perseverance and grit when faced with obstacles

  • Participants will leave feeling empowered to approach their own culture differently in order to improve their ability to fundraise and thrive

  • Participants will see real life examples of how individuals have faced challenges and opportunities within their cultures and how they have made real changes

  • Participants will leave feeling inspired to do things differently with the tools to make change happen

Mide Akerewusi, CSR-P, CDEP

Founder and CEO


Mide is Founder and CEO of AGENTSC Inc., an international professional fundraising company delivering fundraising solutions to the world’s social impact sector. Mide has extensive experience working with nonprofits and major philanthropists in Australia, Canada, UK, and the USA. With over 20 plus years’ experience as a philanthropy expert in the nonprofit sector, Mide has also built philanthropic partnerships with some of the world’s leading corporations and grant-making foundations. In the UK, Mide founded and chaired the Black Fundraisers Network - a voluntary organization supporting fundraisers to learn about philanthropy within Europe’s African and Caribbean diaspora.  

Prior to establishing AGENTSC, Mide served as Director of Leadership Philanthropy at Pathways to Education Canada, where he helped to kick-start and close the organisation’s $185 million Graduation Nation Campaign. Prior to Pathways, Mide served as Chief Development Officer at the YMCA of Greater Toronto. He has led major gift fundraising teams and campaigns at Scope UK, The British Red Cross, and The Children’s Society in England and Wales.


Cathy Barrick

Chief Thank You Officer (CEO)

Alzheimer Society of Toronto

Cathy is a get'er done leader.  No idea is impossible and no problem is too big.  Cathy leads from the trenches and creates enthusiasm through creativity, honesty and a strong belief in the power of the team.  Having been at the helm of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto for nearly 6 years, Cathy has lead the development team to double the annual revenue through challenging the old ways of doing things and being at the centre of development activities.  

Stephen George


Good Leaders

Stephen George is a Fundraising and Leadership Coach and Consultant,  currently working internationally on legacy strategies and is a global speaker, writer and podcaster.  With over 30 years in the sector at all levels in the UK and internationally, he was Executive Director at Action on Hearing Loss, the RNIB and Director of Fundraising at Maggie's Cancer Centre’s. From 2006, he was Development Director for Legacies at the NSPCC and before that as Director of Community Appeals, was responsible for community fundraising, schools, and national events. Stephen as was part of the senior team leading the Full Stop campaign which raised over £250 million, Before that, he led Regional Fundraising at UNICEF and prior to that at Scope. A former chairman of Remember a Charity, a consortium of over 145 charities promoting gifts in wills, he was Vice Chairman of the Institute of Fundraising and is currently a trustee at CLIC Sargent.


Kishshana Palmer, CFRE

Founder & CEO

Kishshana & Co.

Kishshana Palmer is a national speaker, trainer, and coach with a 16 year background  in fundraising, marketing, and talent management.  She’s a supernova on any stage and platforms due to her charismatic and candid delivery. 

Caroline Riseboro

President & CEO

Trillium Health Partners Foundation

Caroline Riseboro is President & CEO of Trillium Health Partners Foundation. Prior to her role at Trillium, Caroline was the President & CEO of Plan International Canada, one of Canada’s largest charities working in over 70 countries to help children, especially girls, realize their rights. Caroline is well respected for being a champion of innovation and is credited with launching ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns that have engaged Canadians on some of the world’s toughest issues. In 2017, Caroline was named Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the trailblazer category. Before joining Plan International Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, where she played a key role in expanding CAMH’s reach among Canadians. Caroline has held several senior executive positions over the years, more recently as Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Engagement at World Vision Canada where she was responsible for raising $270 million annually. In addition to serving as President of the GTA chapter of AFP, Caroline is serves on the Boards of the Humanitarian Coalition and the Canadian Partnership for Children and Women’s Health (CANWACH). Caroline holds a Bachelor (honours) degree from McGill University and has been pursuing a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University.

Kesheyl van Schilt

President & CEO

Blakely Inc.

Kesheyl is passionately committed to getting results. At Blakely, she has spearheaded ground-breaking direct marketing campaigns, channeling her strengths in strategic business planning, data analytics and marketing towards acquiring thousands of new donors and raising millions of dollars for her clients. Under Kesheyl’s leadership, Blakely has produced integrated digital fundraising campaigns and pioneered innovative leadership giving and second gift strategies, all while consistently delivering outstanding customer service. As a former fundraising executive at a major teaching hospital, Kesheyl brings over 15 years of experience to her roles as President & CEO of Blakely and Senior Fundraiser with key clients.