From becoming a member to a Desk Exchange Animator to the Community Manager at CSI Annex, Gonzalo has been inspired by the mix of people, property, programs and processes at CSI since 2015. Creating the ambience and conditions for members and organizations to feel welcome, safe, supported, and productive in advancing their wide ranging missions is what his role is all about. Constantly learning with a stellar team of staff around sales, leasing, facilities, animation, programming, and social entrepreneurial and innovation strategy is what makes CSI so special. Gonzalo says, “You don’t have to be a bit crazy to work here, but it helps. It’s all about structure and flow.”
Gonzalo is from Toronto and graduated from McMaster (Political Science), Waterloo (Peace & Conflict Studies), and Queen’s (Education) universities. His Master’s in Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University gave him an overview of the legal, financial, governance, communications, and operational aspects of nonprofit management that he still refers to almost daily. His research focused on standards of practice in global service learning experiences and produced infographics and publications that have been widely referenced by volunteer sending organizations.
Speaking of which, while working as an experiential learning program coordinator with high school and university students, Gonzalo founded a social enterprise in 2002 that facilitated global citizenship experiences with community development projects in Nicaragua. Until 2018 Compañeros Inc engaged 1,500+ Canadian participants in 100 service learning programs and organized 200 education, health, housing, and water projects with 14 public and private partnerships that benefitted 15,000 marginalized people. In 2019 he transformed the company into a registered charity called Compañeros Partners that continues to provide educational and humanitarian aid in Nicaragua. This long-term commitment has been a personally significant reflection of both his philanthropic values and Anglo-Hispanic roots.
Outside of work, Gonzalo loves time with his spouse and his blended Canadian-Nicaraguan family. His introverted tendencies are nurtured by cooking, cycling, gardening, reading, and watching Netflix and Toronto sports teams that win.