We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Nicole Mountain from The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry Inc. in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
What is your role in food banking?
I am the communications and marketing coordinator at The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry Inc. in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Describe a typical day in one word.
What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I have always been drawn to non-profit work and helping others in my previous roles, but I had no idea when I started my food banking career how much I would enjoy working here and be driven daily to do more. I believe in the new and innovative work food banks do and I am really passionate about ways we can better our services. Also, observing the work of co-workers and volunteers and what they do inspires me daily, and I am honoured to be in such good company.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
I find my greatest achievement has been helping create a positive working culture. One of my passions is knowing people are excited to get into work each day. I believe in staff engagement and making people feel a part of the team. I believe creating this kind of work culture allows us to have quality service for others when we treat ourselves with kindness and respect, and walk our talk.
What is your greatest challenge in your current role?
The greatest challenge in my current role is bringing awareness to the public about food banks and breaking down misconceptions and also barriers for people needing to use our services. As part of my marketing role, campaigns are always great to help give visuals and provide an understanding of why we are here and why we do what we do. But there are many layers to this and as challenging as it is, it is also one of the many parts of my job that gets me up in the morning.
If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
We need more diversity in our industry so we hear all voices. We know food is not the only reason hunger exists. I took a diversity course last year called Lead The Shift and it really changed my perspective on my impact as a white female in the non-profit industry. I am proud of the work we have been doing at The Upper Room and we know this is an ongoing mission.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I knew how to garden and grow my own food. Have you ever had a garden-fresh tomato? We are so blessed to have local farmers donate to our food bank and I always enjoy chatting with them when they share their passion and tips on how to grow their crop. That is a goal for myself in 2023!
If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
Do not be afraid to say ‘yes’ even if you do not think you have it all figured out. When we go through that fear and anxiousness, that is when the real growth begins.
Also, to live a life thinking happiness is the end goal without any adversity, those are dead people’s goals (I think I heard that on a TED Talk and it really stuck with me). Mistakes are not fatal; we learn so much from our mistakes. Mistakes can hold us accountable and allow us to learn and become a better person.
Lastly, your kindness is a strength, so go ahead and be kind.
Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life
My hero is my mom. My mom has faced so many adversities in her life and always managed to stay consistent and strong. Just like fans of Star Wars would say, the force is strong within her. If I could be a quarter of that in my life and especially for my own two children, that would be incredible.
What is your idea of happiness?
For myself, it is my family. They make me so happy. Seeing my husband living his dream and my kids thriving, that means everything to me. After a long work week, if I get up on a Saturday morning and I am able to go grab a coffee and go for a long walk and then take my kids to the local farmers market = happiness. Especially during the holidays! Listening to Christmas music on the way to work or out for a drive with the family… it is the little things.
What is your motto?
Life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I am holiday-obsessed and I love Halloween, Christmas and birthdays (probably why I got into event planning in my earlier career). Life is so precious and I love to celebrate whenever I can. As soon as November 12 hits every year, you can expect Christmas decorations and music in my house!
Your theme song?
“Legends Are Made” by Sam Tinnesz (I first heard this at my son’s kickboxing class and now I use it for my workouts or if I need to pump myself up for something).
Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.