Meet Gillian Cornell: Immediate Relief Manager

Gillian Cornell describes herself as a motivator,  connector, and capacity builder who loves engaging people. Born in New Zealand to American parents and a Canadian citizen, Gillian is also a lifelong learner who has worked in international financial, hospitality, marketing, fundraising, and human resource positions. She has a diploma in Tourism & Hospitality Administration, an undergraduate degree in Human Geography,  partial Masters in Biblical Counselling, and is currently working on her Canadian Human Resources Professional certification. She has worked for World Vision and comes to us, most recently, from Cambridge Shelter Corporation.


Gillian shares that the greatest rewards of capacity building are the reciprocal relationships that are nurtured and she goes the extra mile to understand why people come to volunteer at HOPE House. She understands that people volunteer because they want to feel good, to contribute meaningfully and purposefully to something greater than themselves. She builds relationships with potential and existing volunteers through communication and probing, inquiring how people have come to know about us, what their involvement is, and what kinds of things they want to do and what they want to do it for. She helps volunteers to establish goals knowing that with goals come accountability and with accountability come facilitating the achievement of the goal. 


“Every single person I’ve ever worked with has always left knowing something additional about themselves having opened up their own internal flower of realization of who they are and what they can achieve”.


Meaning and purpose are the same virtues that brought Gillian to HOPE House, as she believes that the position of Immediate Relief Manager at HOPE House is one that she can contribute to in a substantial and worthwhile way. Her passion for start-ups is a primary reason Gillian was attracted to HOPE House. “We are a young organization and we are geared for growth. I’ve helped build an organization from the ground up and it was probably the most exciting thing that I’ve ever been involved in in my career so I thought I could really revive that again”. Gillian states that her values also align with those of HOPE House and that our credibility in Guelph and surrounding area as an organization helping to overcome poverty everyday through building genuine community is extremely important to her.


“Over the last 13 years working with vulnerable populations [I’ve learned] that every single person – it doesn’t matter how much potential they have, how much they believe they have, or how much they’re actually using- they all have an innate desire to be part of contributing to community.  Everyone is born with this desire alongside the need for love and acceptance.”


Gillian considers it an honour and a blessing to have relationships with individuals, families, youth, and seniors who face or have faced significant challenges in their lives, and she looks forward to connecting others with the mission, vision, values, and programs of Lakeside HOPE House. If you are looking to contribute to the HOPE House community through volunteering, Gillian is here to help. Please contact her at



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