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Chantelle Krish

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Director of communications and advocacy, YWCA Metro Vancouver, Age 36
Chung Chow photo

Chantelle Krish’s passion for standing up for marginalized people and advocating for women’s equality led her to leave a career in corporate communications and move to the non-profit sector, joining the YWCA Metro Vancouver in 2011.

Her career has progressed from her role as the organization’s manager of advocacy and public relations to positions as associate director of communications and advocacy and, finally, director of communications and advocacy.

As a member of the YWCA’s executive team, she has secured funding for projects including $50,000 to empower young people and $250,000 for the Culture Shift project, which aims to effect changes in policy and attitudes that perpetuate the sexualization of women and girls and hypermasculinization of men and boys.

Successful work also includes the Mothers without Legal Status project, which advocated for government services for women who lost legal status after leaving abusive relationships because their ex-partners cancelled their sponsorships for permanent residence.

“We were raising awareness of the gaps that they experience – income assistance, access to health care, education for children and lack of housing,” Krish said. “We highlighted those areas.”

Her work successfully prompted B.C. government policy changes and won an award from the national YWCA.

Outside work, she is active as a mentor, both formally and informally. Formal mentoring includes work with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Krish sits on committees related to affordable housing, immigration policy and reconciliation. She participates as a subject-matter expert for the women’s safety category of the gender equality strategy for the City of Vancouver. She is also a member of Women Deliver’s stakeholder mobilization committee and is an attendee of the national retreat for women and an adviser for the YWCA Canada advocacy committee.

“One thing that I am very passionate about is getting people to understand why equality is something that matters for everyone,” she said.

Birthplace: Ottawa

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Master of arts, community development, University of Victoria

Currently reading: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Currently listening to: Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: A singer

Profession you would most like to try: A chef – I love being creative and working with my hands, and I have a passion for food (which anyone who knows me will tell you!)

Toughest business or professional decision: When I was faced with an ethical decision in my work and I struggled with how to proceed. Should I lead with my values or take the logical approach? While it made the most sense on paper, it went against my deeper instincts. I decided to be “rational” and in the end it was the wrong choice. I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to challenging ethical dilemmas – always trust your gut

Advice you would give the younger you: Become good at something, then add meaning to it

What’s left to do: So much. I absolutely love what I do because I work for an organization (YWCA Metro Vancouver) with a vision of achieving gender equality. This work is never done and remains increasingly relevant today

Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit