Sindiswa Moyo (MPPAL ’20) is the acting Manager and Senior Advisor in the Office of the Chief Planning Officer at Metrolinx, a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario, which is undertaking the largest transportation investment in Ontario’s history. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to Canada in December 2008.
Tell me about your career in public service.
I started my career in public service working in an administrative role for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) in Ottawa. A few months after in the position, I quickly started managing the annual conference registration, sponsorship and exhibition portfolio. I later accepted a role with United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC), where I was responsible for major gift management and stewardship.
In December 2015, I moved to Toronto and began in an entry-level role at Metrolinx. Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry made me question my ability to make a meaningful contribution to the organization. After two years, I made the tough decision to move to vivaNext to acquire the skills I thought I needed. As tough as it was, it was one of the best decisions I have made in my career. As Buscaglia said “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.”
At vivaNext I learned how to read construction work plans and anticipate community impacts, I led the unplanned events/incident management protocol for my project which included being that onsite calm voice to impacted businesses and residents, and most importantly I learned about construction activities such as utility relocation, road reconstruction and waterworks. As my project neared its completion, I transitioned back to Metrolinx as the senior advisor to the vice president, GO Stations Capital Delivery.
How did the MPPAL program prepare you for your career?
Through participation in the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA) case competition and my courses, I learned that I don’t need to be an expert in all subjects and matters and that I should always be cognizant of the audience when preparing materials because the level of detail required for each audience varies. The program reinforced the importance of being plugged in on policy updates and the political landscape. Our course work was relevant and in line with current affairs, which made it interesting. I remember doing a project for Professor Ogata on the Toronto subway upload, it was especially intriguing to me because I work in the industry, but it was almost a foreshadowing of future events. Less than a year later, I had the amazing opportunity to work on the bill, the Building Transit Faster Act, which was introduced into legislation, and received Royal Assent, designed to support the successful implementation of the Toronto subway upload – who would have known!
What advice would you give to students?
York's Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) is a phenomenal program, I know it can be stressful especially during these unprecedented times, but keep going, keep believing in yourself and remember to take care of yourself. It will be worth it in the end. The Faculty has incredible professors who are always available to provide support and advice to students, stay connected to them.
What’s next for you, personally or professionally?
Professionally, I want to keep learning and growing, I owe it to myself to be the best version I can be. Personally, I am ready to settle down and start a family. In my twenties I made a conscious decision to focus on building my career, I didn’t know where my path would lead but I knew it would find me. I am happy with where I am today, and I believe I am ready to pour everything into this exciting stage.
Any last thoughts you would like to share?
Reuther said, "There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well." My dream is to return to Zimbabwe and serve my people, leveraging my work experience and academic background, I think I have a shot at doing it well. It is a joy and a privilege to be a public servant.