16 Days of Activism

TAP-EDM Canadian Expert Profile

Tracy Apoll – Canadian Expert contracted for the TAP-EDM project in Mexico and Bolivia.

  1. Where are you from?

I live in Edmonton, Alberta though I spent my teen years in a town of about 8,000 people called Edson.

  1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was drawn to one of two jobs as a child.  Either a stewardess or a missionary.  I wanted to be able to travel and meet interesting people from all over the world.

  1. How did come to become a management consultant, specializing in socio-economic community development?

I came to be a management consultant through a combination of two factors.  First, my education and work experience revolved around working with various levels of governments and civil society organizations in problem analysis, planning, monitoring and evaluation, particularly with gender focus.  Second, I had children and needed a career that was project-based and therefore gave me flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.

  1. What are some of your current projects?

I am working through the TAP-EDM project to help Mexico’s Ministry of Finance develop a strategy to increase the number of women in leadership positions; and with the Government of Bolivia’s school for school of public service to design a gender-based analysis tool and course.  I also support organizations to conduct social needs assessments and gender-based analysis, develop strategic plans, monitor and evaluate their initiatives and I provide training to organizations to increase their capacity in these areas.

  1. What is gender equality for you, right now?

Gender equality is when every person, no matter their sex, ethnicity, age, gender identity, or any other identity factor can be their best selves, living to their maximum potential.  It means that structural barriers, biases, and stereotypes that limit opportunities are identified and removed.

  1. What inspires you about the work that you do?

Achieving gender equality requires everyone to work together.  I love working with others who are striving to make the world better for everyone.  Working with these great people gives me hope that our world can keep getting better.

  1. What would be one of your greatest achievements?

My greatest achievement by far is raising my three boys.   The job that I am most proud of, was one of my first out of university.  It was a disaster response project that primarily focussed on housing reconstruction.  My job was to ensure the humanitarian response tied into longer term international assistance by setting up a micro credit program.  This project was 25 years ago and the processes I set up are still in place and have in fact grown.

  1. What is your favourite activity to unwind, for fun?

To unwind I like to do a couple of things.  If it is during the day and I need I break, I love to go for walks in a beautiful, forested ravine that is behind my house.  If it is in the evening, then I love having friends over to visit with some nice music playing and snacks to enjoy.

  1. Tell us a surprising or a little-known fact about you?

I have a black belt in karate!

  1. Do you have any advice for individuals working to reduce Gender-based violence (GBV)?

Working to reduce gender-based violence is difficult work.  It is emotionally challenging, and it means changing cultures and dismantling toxic power structures.  My advice is to gain a deep understanding of the root causes of GBV in a given context, find allies and celebrate every small win.

 Any closing words, words of wisdom you wish to leave us with?

There is no country in the world that has achieved gender equality.  Gender-based violence is one of the worst expressions of the inequality that exists.  However, there is hope.  Global initiatives that raise awareness of gender-based violence, countries that are making and following through on commitments towards equality, and the millions of people around the world who are uniting in the fight against gender equality are having a positive impact that is felt by individuals.  It will take a lot more than 16 days to end gender-based violence – but we have started, and we won’t stop until equality is achieved.