Have you ever felt left out of discussions about important issues when you listened to the news? You’re not alone.
Samanta Krishnapilai was finishing a master’s degree in public health and working part time at Starbucks when the pandemic hit; working with the public every day she got the sense that there was no collective understanding of what was happening and what it might mean for different communities. This was the catalyst that drove her to found the On Covid Project, which would later become the On Canada Project.
In this episode of the Pivot, Samanta explains the issues she saw with communications from Canadian leaders throughout the Covid 19 pandemic – primarily a lack of compassion and accessibility. Armed with a formal education in public health and propelled by the desire to reach those who felt ignored, Samanta grew her project from a grassroots movement to a social enterprise, and a thriving online community with over 130 thousand members.
Together Samanta and The Pivot host Ken Evans explore what it means to truly reach people, and the difference transparency and a sense of connection can make when dealing with sensitive issues.
Samanta is a creative problem solver who actively challenges the status quo. She founded The On Canada Project while nearing the completion of a Master’s degree in Health Information Science from Western University (London, Ontario) and serves as the executive director and editor-in-chief.
Her passions stem from her lived experience as a first-generation Tamil-Canadian and as someone who intentionally took time to focus on her mental wellbeing in her early 20s which fundamentally changed her perspective of the world. Samanta pairs this with her education in health equity, trauma and violence informed care, diversity, and inclusion, and system change, and her professional experiences working in advocacy in University student government and community building at nonprofits, to passionately drive change.
Samanta was recently named one of Reader’s Digests Best Health Magazines Women of the Year and 2020 Health Hero, and Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action named her a trailblazer in their 2021 Top 30 under 30 list.