A newcomer to Canada, Hanen founded BAM - a youth-led art collective based out of Toronto that empowers equity-seeking groups through music, art and education. Having experienced many struggles starting over in a new country at such a young age, Hanen knew the importance of creating a safe community space where youth could come together and really make a difference.
Before appearing on The Dream Team, Hanen and her business partner, Hani, had turned BAM into a growing community initiative, but she never felt confident when it came to the finances or how to make the organization financially sustainable. Now that the show has aired, Hanen describes the lessons she learned, the advice she received and the connections she made as invaluable.
For Hanen, being part of the show was an opportunity to learn from the experiences of other entrepreneurs, ones who believed in her and her collective. When asked what the single most important takeaway from her time with The Dream Team was, Hanen said “financial confidence.” She went on to explain that being surrounded by experts and being able to ask them questions has given her a new perspective when it comes to making decisions with regards to the future of the collective. Although she and her team are still looking into whether to follow a for-profit or not-for-profit model, Hanen feels empowered and as though she has gained enough knowledge for them to choose the right path. As Hanen put it, before the episode there was a lot of discussion and after the episode there has been a lot of action.
That action includes focusing on representation among her board of directors as well as expanding and applying for funding with respect to mental health initiatives, combating gun violence in Toronto and, of course, continuing to support newcomers and refugees. And since the show aired, there’s been an uptick in interest from other organizations to partner with BAM.
As for her relationship with The Dream Team? Hanen explains that she’s received a tremendous amount of support both online and offline from all members and looks forward to being able to attend Tanya’s board meeting once Covid subsides. And she has some advice for anyone with a dream: “Take the challenges that come your way as an opportunity because life is all about challenges.”
Haven’t watched Hanen’s episode? The Dream Team, a series by IG Wealth Management, is available on CBC Gem.