(Photo courtesy AGO photographer Carlo Catenazzi)
By Amanda Gabriele, Public Affairs Intern
If you have ever wondered how to make use of all 24 hours in a day, Amynah Jiwa could certainly offer some suggestions. Tucked away on the second floor, she takes a much-needed coffee break to discuss one of her most secretive subjects – herself.
Amynah started at the AGO in September 2007 as executive assistant to the Chief Financial Officer. She also occupies the role of executive assistant to both the AGO Foundation Board and the Finance Committee.
Although she holds a B.A. in Economics from York University, Amynah decided to try something new, so she moved on to a diploma in Marketing Administration at Seneca College.
"Learning is a life long process," she says. "It’s important to keep yourself busy and interested; to always be learning something all the time." With that in mind, she is currently on the path to higher education, working towards a degree in her Bachelor of Commerce part-time at Ryerson University.
Along with the commitment of work and family, Amynah has more than enough responsibility to keep her busy. A proud member of the Ismaili Muslim community, she acts as a liaison on the executive committee of the core volunteer group at her mosque. She oversees many of the community’s youth group initiatives, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program, which commends youth for their hard work in skills and fitness training and dedication to voluntary service. She was also a key player in this year‘s Aga Khan Golden Jubilee celebrations, a succession of events leading to a grand event that catered to more than 60,000 people in Toronto at the Rogers Centre where Amynah was overseeing all of the refreshments for all five days.
"It gives me a sense of purpose," says Amynah about her commitment to her faith and community. "The more you do, the more you can accomplish. I feel rewarded when I see things come to fruition. She has served as a voluntary with the executive committee for three years but has been an active volunteer since she was 13. She is a role model to many members of the community.
When asked about her plans for the future, Amynah’s enthusiastic response is, "2009 is my year!" She will continue her volunteer commitments, as well as her passion for education. As far as her time at the AGO is concerned, her job is a welcome priority for her.
"I feel at home here," she says about her love for the Gallery and her job. "It’s like the TV show Cheers! It’s nice to go where everybody knows your name; where you walk down the halls and people say hello."
That said, the remaining question for this modest busybody would be, "When do you have time to sleep?" Somehow she fits it in, but whether or not Amynah gets her recommended eight hours of shut-eye or not, she is always a pleasure to meet in the halls.