Concentration: Accounting and Human Resources
Throughout her experience at the Beedie School of Business, Winona Bhatti has proven to be a born leader. As president of Enactus SFU, she used this gift to lead her team to national recognition – inspiring them to benefit those less fortunate through social innovation in the process.
Under Winona’s leadership, Enactus SFU garnered national recognition for their social initiatives, winning the 2016 Capital One Financial Education Challenge Award at the Enactus National Exposition, and reaching the semi finals of the overall competition. These impressive achievements earned Winona the 2016 Enactus Canada Student Leader of the Year award.
Before coming to Beedie, Winona had already witnessed the power of social innovation through starting up a not-for-profit organization called HUG, which builds and maintains schools in developing countries.
Her experience through HUG galvanized Winona’s belief in social responsibility, and inspired her to join Enactus SFU, the local chapter of the global student-led organization that uses social enterprise to better the lives of those in need.
“I absolutely love being involved with people who share that same passion,” says Winona. “Enactus really gave me the opportunity to work with other inspiring students.”
Winona became president of Enactus SFU in 2015 and made it her mission to increase membership.
“I tried to focus on one goal for the organization, which was really attracting engaged students and growing the organization's programs, members and culture,” says Winona. “This year we had almost 190 students join, which was twice as many as we have ever had and they were all so involved that I was blown away.”
Winona credits her involvement with the BASS Mentorship Program and Frosh – a yearly event that welcomes new students to Beedie – in building Enactus SFU’s membership, as well as her personal style of leadership. One of her unique leadership strategies is to hand write a personal note to each member, detailing why she is excited to have them on board.
“I think as a leader building trust is really important,” says Winona. “I care about every member and have a relationship with each of them, which creates a really inclusive culture.”
With the growth of Enactus SFU came capacity to do more. Although the organization supports many causes, its largest success story to date is Soap for Hope, which takes new or gently used soap from hotels around Vancouver and repurposes it for sale.
The largest profit Soap for Hope had made during the previous four years was $50, but under Winona’s leadership profits rose to a remarkable $17,000 in just one year.
Winona also co-hosts a segment on the Amrit Bhatti Talk Show that focuses on domestic violence in the South Asian community. The show serves as a platform for women who have suffered from domestic violence to share their stories. Behind the scenes, Winona and her mother, Amrit, support the women by introducing them to social services, and at times even open their own doors as a safe house for a woman in transition.
Winona’s ability to create change has not gone unnoticed. She was among the winners of the Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 award, and was awarded the title of HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow.
“I think it’s important to find that thing you connect with,” says Winona. “For me that was Enactus and I personally feel that it really complemented my degree and gave me an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned.”