About Bhavana Varma

Discovering My Calling

Born and raised in India, I was deeply troubled by the inequalities around me. The glaring disparity between comfort and poverty was impossible to overlook. However, it was only after relocating to Canada that I discovered my true calling through the United Way.

Finding Purpose in a New Land

As a newcomer, I faced the common dilemma of needing Canadian experience to secure a job in Canada. However, everything fell into place when I secured a temporary typing role at United Way, realizing it was a golden opportunity to merge my skills with my passion for social welfare.

Embarking on a Mission

Entering the non-profit sector was motivated by a singular, potent mission: to serve others. With thirty plus years experience in the nonprofit sector, I feel that consulting is another avenue to fulfill this fundamental goal, by empowering non-profits to optimize their potential.

Tackling Initial Hurdles

I was fortunate that I had numerous training opportunities in my job, including a specialized session on facilitation. At one point I felt I was being pushed really hard. This was a crucial moment; the trainer later revealed they were tough on me because they felt I had immense potential as a facilitator.

Developing My Unique Coaching Approach

Initially, when I ventured into leadership coaching, I felt daunted by industry jargon and the experienced professionals surrounding me. However, I received invaluable guidance from seasoned coaches who urged me to remain true to myself.

Witnessing Real-world Impact

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the tangible impact of my efforts. For example, I coached a non-profit leader on the brink of quitting. By helping them reassess board engagement and operations, I helped them think through the situation, and decide to stay in their role, which preserved their potential for positive community influence.

Adapting Methods for Optimal Impact

My methods have continuously evolved. In consulting, I now underscore the significance of pre-work, harnessing collective wisdom from both internal and external partners before group sessions. This strategy has empowered organizations to leave the session with actionable, manageable plans, enhancing their self-assurance and capabilities.

Anticipating the Next Milestone

Looking ahead, I aim to balance my dedication to providing complimentary coaching to some smaller non-profit leaders, with the opportunity to establish a sustainable model. My upcoming milestone involves expanding a client base of paying customers to supplement my pro bono work.

Embracing the Journey

As a lifelong learner, my journey is ongoing. My mission is to empower others to be their best selves, just as I persistently endeavor to be mine.

My resume

You can view a summary of my experience if you are interested

Becoming Bhavana Varma:

Listen to a podcast with host Catherine Tang about growing up in India, carving a life in Canada and working in Kingston, Ontario