Ashita Anand is a Senior Regulatory Engineer at the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), providing professional engineering advice and policy expertise in the regulation of British Columbia (BC) public utilities. Ashita has been recently appointed to the Girls Guides of Canada. Over the past few years, Ashita has gained diverse and valuable experience during her appointments as the Director of the BC Women in Energy non-profit, as well as the Chair of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC) - Vancouver Branch.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
You were recently appointed to the board of Girl Guides of Canada. Congratulations! What are you most looking forward to in this new role?
The Girl Guides of Canada is undergoing some exciting changes which is reflected in their 2018-2020 strategic plan. This has brought together a very enthusiastic, dedicated, and driven team on the board. I am eager to begin working with these phenomenal women. In addition, I have been assigned as the co-owner of the Girl Guides of Canada’s Diverse & Inclusive strategic priority, which is something I am looking forward to working on.
What drives you to serve on not-for-profit boards?
I feel that my core values align with what non-profits aim to do: serve the public interest and good. This has played a big role in my professional and extracurricular career. As an electrical engineer, I worked for BC Hydro where I built and designed systems to ensure the safe and reliable supply of electricity to the residents of BC. Working at the BCUC, I have led the review of capital projects where one of the main factors is to assess whether the investment is in the public interest. This passion to serve the public drew me to volunteer with non-profits.
“Girl Guides of Canada will allow me to help engage, empower, and advance the next generation.”
What contributions will you bring to the Girl Guides of Canada board?
I feel I can help increase the diversity of the membership by raising awareness of Girl Guides. I was born outside Canada and immigrated from Asia/Middle East. Based on Statistics Canada, between 2011 and 2016, approximately 600,000 females migrated to Canada of which more than 62% were from Asia or the Middle East. From my own lived-experience, I know that many of these females are not aware of Girl Guides and yet could benefit the most from it. In my opinion, the exposure of Girl Guides of Canada to this demographic will offer the single greatest opportunity for membership growth in the coming years. Given my knowledge of these communities, I feel I have a strategy to target this demographic and increase membership in the coming years.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about joining a board, what would it be?
Join a board that you believe in and are passionate about the mission, vision, and values. Taking the time to do this self-assessment will not only determine your success in the role, but it will also ensure the advancement of the organization’s mission, vision, and values.