Collaboration Where You Least Expect It with Angie Peters

Written by Jamie Hunter

January 01, 2021

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In 2012, Angie Peters gave an impassioned talk at TEDxToronto. The gist of her presentation, “Socially Sourcing to End Poverty,” was that a person’s ability to pursue their dreams should never be influenced by where they were born. 

Angie’s lived this out both by founding the ZOË Alliance, a for-profit social enterprise, and in her current role as the president and CEO of the Yonge Street Mission (YSM) in Toronto, where she leads a team of 140 staff and over 3,500 volunteers to help people rise out of poverty and realize their full potential. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made challenging work even more difficult this past year. But at the core of YSM is a resilient team that has tackled every obstacle thrown its way. 

“The team is so strong and so passionate about the work that we do,” Angie recently said on the Leading With Nice podcast. “And though on any given day, one of us may be tired and another one of us may be invincible, between the team we’re able to hold each other together and hold each other up and continue moving forward in the work.

“And the work is so important, because so many people have lost their jobs. The traffic at our food bank has tripled. That’s just one particular stat, and that’s just one part of the story, but the need is so great, and yet it’s really, really heartwarming to see community and donors and people and staff just rally around one another and be there for one another.”

Collaboration is vital to the successes of YSM and very few leaders embrace a collaborative approach to business more than Angie. 

“I’m honest about what I’d like to see us all do together,” she says. “Then I help guide a conversation where everybody gets their ideas out on the table, so that we end up with something that’s co-created. Even if, for argument’s sake, my idea was better, or at least I thought it was better, even if that were true, the group product is better because the group product can get done.” 

In addition to leading YSM, Angie serves as part of the Advisory Board of the MaRS Solutions Lab, the Downtown East Ontario Health Table, and the Regent Park Executive Directors Network.

Throughout her career, Angie has made a habit of seeking out intentional partnerships and creating collaborations where others wouldn’t expect to look. While she’s naturally gifted at doing this, it is a skill that can be taught, and on today’s Leading With Nice podcast episode, she shares her steps to creating successful collaborations. Check it out below.


  1. Penny Kirlik

    Interesting..for us we can’t build trust/relationships with the Board because they change at least yearly – they, typically, come in with a lack of understanding which often translates to doubt/fear/suspicion, and the staff feels this as well. How do we turn this (the Board’s state of mind) into being curious, being helpful and inquisitive? Actually be collaborative!?
    Seven steps…assess organization, build ethos, season of trust building, start small, innovation/not duplication, go slow..collaborate, but for us we don’t have the luxury of following these steps.
    Really enjoyed this! Thanks M@.

    • Mathieu Yuill

      Thanks for sharing, Penny. Molly Fletcher, who was a sports agent for some big-time baseball players says this: trade defensiveness for curiosity, humility is the essence of a hungry learner. A board that is confused, suspicious and ignorant because of a lack of experience is definitely a tough situation. Because of the short amount of time, lots of effort can be put towards trust and transparency. Both leads to the other so it doesn’t matter which you start with. I know this is a bigger issue than just what can be sorted out in a comment section, but perhaps it inspires some other thoughts.


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