Class of 2004 – HBA, Innis, USP
Anthony Fernando is an Innis College Urban Studies 2004 alumnus. This past year he started a non-profit consulting firm called inTo Consulting.
What was your time like as an Urban Studies Program student?
A lot of fun. My class was dynamic and my placement in City Hall helped make our discussions and the papers real.
What were your most valuable experiences?
I would say contributing in a City Councillor’s office during the exciting 2003-2004 election year. Seeing the highs and lows and decisions being made was a terrific learning experiencing. I also made a few good friends through the experience.
How has your time at U of T prepared you for life after graduation?
My U of T experience taught me how to undertake and complete a task that took years to complete. So in many ways the leadership experience was helpful, but I was an average student, academically speaking.
Can you tell me a little about your advocacy firm? What is it called?
It’s called inTo Consulting, a play on Toronto and the word “into”. inTo Consulting is a not-for-profit social enterprise group dedicated to helping community organizations and activists understand how government operates and supporting their advocacy efforts. Our efforts are primarily focused on helping groups that face barriers when engaging government officials. We help our clients succeed in their interactions with government officials through a combination of consulting services, learning opportunities and partnerships.
What inspired you to start up inTo Consulting?
I spent several years in the public service at both the provincial and municipal levels. I have also served elected officials and helped them get elected.
Reflecting on my time in government, I was frustrated seeing so many community groups confused about the government decision-making process. So I now help groups that face barriers when trying to engage the government and tell their stories effectively. Unlike other consultants, I am focused on capacity-building and knowledge transfer. I want my clients to learn by doing, and I can offer them take away skills that will make them more effective advocates for their causes and issues.
What are your plans for the future, and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I would like get my not-for-profit to a sustainable point and help the overall community not-for-profit sector develop the capacity to engage with government more effectively. I see a distinction between protest and advocacy and I hope that five years from now, it will be second nature for elected officials and senior bureaucrats to sincerely consult community groups and see them as partners in addressing challenges and building our amazing city. I believe that government officials and third sector / not-for-profit organizations should have an ongoing vibrant and meaningful dialogue.
To learn more about Anthony Fernando’s work, please visit: WWW.GETINTO.CA.