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Sofia Janmohamed

2008 Staff achievement: Sofia Janmohamed, giving leadership

January 22, 2009

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Each year, SFU’s staff achievement awards highlight staffers’ exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments. Throughout this semester, SFU News will feature profiles on each of the 2008 winners, who were recognized at a formal luncheon on Jan. 21 at the Diamond Alumni Centre.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams

Sofia Janmohamed, manager of annual giving, is about to commence her 20th consecutive alumni appeal campaign in 10 years. To pull it off, she’ll recruit, train, lead, reward and evaluate yet another team of about 40 student callers as they spend the next 10 weeks phoning more than 25,000 SFU graduates to request their financial support. And then she’ll do it all over again in the fall as the callers prepare to phone a further 25,000 alumni in their quest to raise $600,000 for bursaries and endowments.

Janmohamed’s successful training methods, coupled with her deep interest in mentoring these students and developing their life skills, are among the reasons she received the 2008 leadership award.

"Sofia’s dynamic and motivational leadership has changed the lives of every student who has worked for her," says one nominator. "Not only do they move forward with new transferable skills that will serve them well in their personal and professional lives, they also see firsthand what effective leadership looks like."

The job is a labour of love for Janmohamed, who started out as a student caller in 1999. "It’s very close to my heart," she says. "It’s not about being a boss, but being a mentor. These students come in with a certain skill set and it’s about developing them."

Students appreciate and return her interest, staying in touch long after they have left the university. In fact, former student caller Marta Malecki, who is now a fund development officer for Telus World of Science, initiated the 2008 leadership nomination. "The skills and lessons that Sofia offered me are still with me today, as she helped me foster a love for fundraising and philanthropy," she wrote.

For Janmohamed, effective leadership requires self-reflection. "It’s about always acknowledging that you can do something better, that the people around you can have valuable ideas, and then taking the time to learn, put it altogether and put it into practice," she says. "That evolution is absolutely necessary."

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Salim S Mitha

Sofia continues to do great work and has an amazing work ethic. Kudos to her for all her accomplishments!

Salima Ladha

Wow! What an impressive article. Great to see such hard work ethic, professionalism and leadership-must run in the family! Well done Sofi.

Karim Jivraj

What goes around comes around. If you do good it will come back to you but if you are also doing bad to others at the same time, all the good in the world wont cover it. Best of Luck with your mission :)

Nazirah Premji

Simply Amazing but not surprising! Your "drive" is examplary

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