Rethinker Profile: Miranda
By Rethink Breast Cancer July 19 2017
Name: Miranda Germani
Miranda is passionate about health and health care, personally, professionally, and philanthropically. She has been a dedicated volunteer for most of her life, and believes in the difference volunteering can make to us personally, causes we care about, our communities, and globally. Her volunteer efforts were recognized by the Governor General with an official Canadian honour, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
She recently supported Rethink at the Queen’s Plate and has attended Boobyball. At the Queen’s Plate, she chatted with fellow supporters, passed out fans to help racegoers beat the heat and learn more about Rethink, and even got to watch the race from the prime spot near the finish line and see the winning horses close-up in the winner’s circle!
What do you do when you are not changing the world with philanthropic gestures?
Most of my career has been in health care, both in Canada and abroad. The past two years I juggled the demands of both studying and working full-time, so after graduating with my Master’s of Science I am now enjoying having some time to relax. I value and enjoy exercising, particularly barre, yoga, and rowing. I adore taking advantage of the diverse opportunities increasingly awesome Toronto has, such as the ballet, long walks, and events. I got married recently, so am enjoying day to day life with my new husband John too!
What is one thing you have re-thought in your life? How did you approach it?
One thing I have learnt is that it’s important to not count myself out and put myself forward for opportunities I want. I have in recent years done this by making decisions based on ‘what would I regret more?’ and applying for opportunities that I knew might be competitive. By doing so, I moved to Paris for a spring-time, was accepted for and then graduated from a prestigious program at a world-class university, and secured several wonderful jobs.
What is the most important thing to know when it comes to donating to a cause?
It is very important to me that the cause I am donating to is efficient and effective in making the impact they are setting out to achieve, like the difference I see Rethink is making. I have withdrawn from supporting a particular charity in the past as although it was focused on an issue that I care about deeply, I felt they were disorganized and wasting time and money.
A person who gives back that you aspire to:
I prefer not to focus on particular people, as I think everyone can make a difference in their own way. Many of my friends and family members, including my mother, donate their time to support causes they care about. However, Sheryl Sandberg is a particular role model of mine. As Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, author, and philanthropist, she has inspired and brought together millions of women and men through her Lean In organization. The areas she has focused on, including gender equality, poverty and equity, health, and the environment, align with my passions.
How do you find a cause you are passionate about?
For this and other reasons, it can be helpful to put some thought into what your key values are and three keywords you would use to define yourself; this can help guide what causes you’ll focus on. There’s a wealth of information online, so I have found new causes to support by entering these keywords I’ve chosen there. I think it is important to be conscious of the time and/or money that you have to give at this point, and consider how best to use it. Charitable support is an increasingly crowded space; we cannot possibly give financially or otherwise to every cause we are contacted about, so I prefer this focused approach.
I have consciously decided to focus my philanthropic efforts on the areas of health, gender equality, and lifelong learning. My passion for health is based on the importance I place on healthy lifestyle, how much I value my personal good health, and my strong belief in universal health care. Unfortunately, many women in my family have had breast cancer, thus my support of Rethink. I’ve recently focused my financial donations in helping Nepal from a health perspective after the earthquakes, as I had the privilege and truly life-changing experience of going to that country shortly after the earthquakes. I also volunteer with Lean In Canada and my alma mater the London School of Economics.
What is innovative about the Rethink approach?
Rethink is particularly strong at knowing its community and concentrating on and tailoring every effort to that group to be acutely relevant. There are key challenges that younger women with breast cancer face, and Rethink’s initiatives are very pertinent, such as the Rethink Young Women’s Network Facebook group, LiveLaughLearn video series with practical tips for women with breast cancer, Someone I Love Has Breast Cancer useful tips, as well as the kids’ guide and parent booklet for young families. Many young women spend a lot of time online and expect high-quality digital materials, and the website meets this need with a wealth of material.
What inspires you daily?
I try to be mindful of little things throughout my day and find joy in each of them, such as a pretty flower next to the sidewalk, a funny photo a friend has emailed, or the way the light hits a building. I think being negative and negative people are exhausting, so I consciously try to be consistently pleasant for myself and those around me.
Why should people support a cause they are passionate about?
I think volunteering, donating, and otherwise supporting causes are an essential part of being a valuable member of our society. Support doesn’t need to be directly financial, people may not have the funds to spare but almost everyone has a few hours they can volunteer. Through donating my time and skills in communications and event organization, I’ve helped predominately health causes raise in excess of one million dollars.
Selecting and supporting a cause a person particularly cares about not only benefits the cause, but offers a wealth of possible personal benefits too, such as meeting new people that can turn into lifelong friends, experience that can help in career progression, access to enjoyable events, etc. Through volunteering for the McMaster Charity Ball throughout my four years studying at the university, I met some amazing friends that helped shape my university experience. Particularly earlier in my career, my volunteer experience helped me successful apply for several job opportunities. There’s also some cool behavioural science research that backs supporting a cause. Donating and volunteering encourages others to do the same, can make us happy and possibly healthier, typically become a positive habit, and we like being part of a community.
I greatly enjoyed attending the Queen’s Plate horse races with Rethink. It was enjoyable to talk about an issue I care about with like-minded individuals, spend time with myhusband and the Rethink team, and enjoy the stellar event too.
When I give back I feel energized, part of a community, and like I’m having an impact beyond me.