Sonya Swiridjuk


Meet Sonya…

Who are your heroes?

I don’t have “heroes,” per se – although Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, comes close. Gord’s extraordinary creativity made him Canada’s musical poet laureate, and his carpe diem attitude – especially when he fought terminal brain cancer – was amazing and humbling.

That said, I’ve had some wonderful mentors in my fundraising career, including my first boss Catherine Sherrard, and fellow volunteer and former boss Mark Hierlihy. I have a kindred conference connection with Steve Thomas, who sent me to my first IFC in 2001 and later encouraged me to become an IFC volunteer. And then there’s my dear friend Tony Elischer, who always inspired, cheered and challenged me (and so many others) to do more and be better.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Strive for perfection; settle for excellence – from two of my mentors, Catherine and Mark.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

Like many of my generation in the non-profit sector, I “fell into fundraising.” At the time, I couldn’t believe my good fortune – I would be starting a new career and be working for a cause I cared about! Twenty-eight years later, I (still) can’t imagine doing anything else.

Describe yourself in three words.

Spontaneous. Savvy. Spirited.

Describe your life in six words.

Following my heart to a fault!


Sonya Swiridjuk, CFRE, heads her own consultancy, helping charities of all sizes meet their fundraising and copywriting needs.

Tel: +1 (0) 416 979 7878