Charles Chee didn’t really know anything about Reena until Reena Board member David Cohen, with whom he served on Rotary Club, asked him if he would be interested in joining the Board. “So, I took a look into what Reena is doing,” says Charles, “and I was very much touched by what Reena is doing in the community.” At the time, some eight years ago, Charles was involved with several NGOs working around the world helping people who live in poverty in different ways. “So, when I looked at what Reena is doing, what I’m seeing here in Canada is we also have needs. They may come in different forms, but they are indeed things we need to work on.”
At first, Charles says his time on the board was spent listening and learning because he was not familiar with the sector. He not only began to understand the general operation and the direction of where Reena wanted to go but also began to learn how the sector functions relative to other sectors in healthcare. “From my perspective,” says Charles, “if you want to get involved with an organization, especially on a board you do need to roll up your sleeves and get serious about it. And I think that is true of all the board members. I have seen other boards where people go just so they can say they sit on a board. That is not the case at Reena.” What impresses Chee about Reena is the supportive environment that allows everyone to voice their opinions and challenges in a constructive way. “I think every board member works very, very hard, contributing in the way that they are able to because each of us brings a different perspective, a different set of strengths and a different way of interpreting things to allow us to be a little more comprehensive in looking at any situation or issue that we are dealing with.”
In his second year, in an effort to learn even more about Reena, and at the recommendation of fellow board member Tali Nizic, Chee joined the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) committee. CQI looks at the various processes that are in place and examines ways to continue to access the efficiency and efficacy of these processes and looks at how to continue to make adjustments and improvements to be in line with the changes that are happening on an ongoing basis to do things even better. Chee continues to sit on the CQI committee today.
Another point of pride for Chee, who became Reena Board Chair from 2020-2022, is the mixture and fluidity of Reena boards and their relationship to each other. “We are in a really harmonious space where everybody focuses on how to make Reena grow in a way that makes sense, that is actually serving the people that are looking to be served. It’s like a well-practiced orchestra, and we are producing beautiful music.”
For the last 2 years, Charles has been getting involved with GReena, Reena’s sustainability initiative, through the community garden and says what excites him most is “inclusion and allowing individuals regardless of who they are to be able to grow to their full potential and be a member of the community and feel proud of it. I know the community garden is a small step, but the people who are involved, the residents, are really enjoying it. Watching things grow and allowing the fruits of their labour to be used by others. And they recognize that their part of that is an amazing thing.”
Overall, Charles Chee says it makes him feel good to be a member of Reena’s Board of Directors because he feels they are steering Reena in the right direction. “We’re providing the right support; we’re providing an environment where people can thrive. And it’s not just them alone. When they thrive, their family feels better. That impact goes beyond into the community, rippling through the community…it’s a positive wave.”