Sunny Kler

Poste occupé:
Emergency Management Coordinator
Canadian Red Cross
Type de formation (1):
Formation universitaire (Baccalauréat)
Programme de formation (1):
Undergraduate degree
Types de professionnel-le:
Professionnels-les dans les OBNL et OBE
Secteurs d'organisation:
Types d'organisation:
Oeuvres de bienfaisances (OB)

Can you present yourself?

My name is Sunny Kler and I work at the Canadian Red Cross as the Emergency Management Coordinator in Toronto

What brought you to work in the philanthropic sector?

When I graduated from The University of Toronto, my first job was in the corporate sector. I quickly realized that the corporate world wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something with my life that would impact others in a positive way. I worked as a Youth Worker in the community I grew up in and realized this is where I belong. I feel fulfilled when I am helping others.

Can you define and explain what your activity and/or position consists of within your organization?

The Red Cross Emergency Management Department: We provide 72 hours of basic support to individuals impacted by a disaster. This includes emergency accommodation, clothing, food, transportation and referrals. During large-scale emergencies, this support can be extended for as long as needed. My portfolio consists of volunteer management, emergency preparedness and response. I currently manage a roster of 130+ volunteers in Toronto and provide response support. I also provide staff coverage for other regions in the GTA, including covering Dispatch shifts and taking on any duties that are needed to support my team. Some of the major responses I have been involved in since last year include:

– The BC Wild Fires: This was my first deployment. I was out in Kamloops BC for 5 weeks managing a site with a team of volunteers. – Extreme Cold Weather Response: Last January we opened up an emergency reception centre to provide relief and support to individuals. This lasted about one week.
– Toronto Refugee Response: Over the spring/summer we provided support to hundreds of refugees at two sites for two months.

– Parliament St Fire: Over the summer we provided support to over 1200 displaced individuals from a building fire. This lasted a few weeks.

What is your professional education? Is it relevant in the context of your philanthropic involvement?

I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2014 with an undergraduate degree: double major in Sociology and CCIT.

Talk to us briefly about your professional background?

Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre: I worked as a Youth Worker for a few years in a marginalized community.
Australian Red Cross: I worked as an Emergency Case Worker for one year in providing support to refugee asylum seekers. I was out in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa and was given this incredible opportunity. I believe this role is what ignited my passion in further pursuing employment opportunities within the Red Cross.
Canadian Red Cross: I worked in the Street Relief Program as an Assistant Coordinator for about 1.5 years where I managed a team of volunteers and ran a drop-in lunch & dinner program for vulnerable people in Down Town Toronto.
I volunteered as a Responder in the Emergency Management Department: I went on numerous responses including the Fort-Mac Fire response and took a leadership role in supervising volunteers.
Emergency Management Coordinator: This is my current role at the Canadian Red Cross

What are the challenges and issues related to your position in philanthropy?

I love what I do but – as anyone working in the not-for-profit sector can attest – burn-out is very common in this field. I work extremely long hours and the compensation does not match the number of hours I put in.

How would you define philanthropy today? How does this definition influence your working methods?

The purpose of philanthropy is to improve the wellbeing of humankind by preventing and solving social problems. This can take on many forms – small or big, such as volunteering at a food bank/drop-in or taking part in an initiative to help eliminate poverty/hunger in Toronto or providing financial assistance to help existing programs/individuals with their initiatives. I feel so many people are doing their part in making the world a better place and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. It has become easier to help those in need. I currently volunteer twice a month at a drop-in meal program in down town Toronto. I used an app to join this group – it was easy. I find with the use of social media and apps more people can get involved and give back a lot easier and faster.

My goal is to set up my own meal program in down-town Toronto.

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to pursue a career in your profession/activity?

This field isn’t for just anyone. You have to be OK with change and have a passion in helping others. Nothing beats helping those in need – and if this something that drives you than this is the right field to be in. I would also suggest volunteering in the field as this is a great way to learn and see if this field is right for you

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