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Lucky Iron Fish Expands Its Impact Program

  • 5 min read

Lucky Iron Fish is pleased to announce that Lydia Summerlee has been promoted to the role of Impact Specialist, effective immediately. This newly created role represents Lucky Iron Fish’s commitment to building and strengthening its global partnerships and ensuring that its programs positive, meaningful and sustainable change to help advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, sustainable consumption, and Gender Equality.

As Lucky Iron Fish expands, Lydia will play a central role in building out the organization’s social impact, educational and training programs for distribution of the Lucky Iron Fish through its Buy-One-Give-One Program. Lucky Iron Fish is a health innovation that helps to alleviate iron deficiency anemia. The Program ensures that for every Fish purchased, one is given to a family in need. Currently, Lucky Iron Fish helps to alleviate iron deficiency through distribution of over 100,000 Fish and working on expanding networks of partner organizations around the world.

The newly created role will also focus on measuring the impact that Lucky Iron Fish has in communities around the world. In this capacity, Lydia will be working closely with Dr. Gavin Armstrong, Lucky Iron Fish’s President and CEO, to foster new partnerships and strengthen existing relationships with non-profits and health clinics to help those who are suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Today, women and children are among the most vulnerable to this pervasive micronutrient deficiency, which affects nearly 350 billion people around the world.

“When I was mid-way through my PhD program, I started working at Lucky Iron Fish. It was at this point that I realized that I could truly be part of social enterprise that was actively making a difference in the world and I decided to change my career path,” said Lydia Summerlee, Impact Specialist, Lucky Iron Fish. “Being part of such an incredible organization focused on using business as a force for good is both inspiring and life changing. I look forward to fortifying our international presence and partnerships to help realize our dream of putting a fish in every pot.”

A cross-section of the strategic partnerships that Lydia is helping to spearhead around the world:

Malaika Foundation, Democratic Republic of Congo - A nonprofit to empower Congolese girls and their communities through education. The organization is based in New York and operates in the village of Kalebuka, in the Southeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Lucky Iron Fish will be distributed to the Malaika School, a free, accredited school that is providing a quality education to 252 girls in Kalebuka. The school aims to build the leadership of its girls so that they commit themselves to being change-agents in their community and have a long-term, lasting impact on the DRC.

Wellcome Trust/The Crunch, UK - Lucky Iron Fish has been on exhibit at the Wellcome Collection as part of their “Medicine, What Now?” project to educate visitors about iron deficiency and used as a popular handling object. Through the Wellcome Trust, Lucky Iron Fish is also able to reach people through a program called The Crunch, an organization that runs activities, experiences and discussions around food, health and the planet. The Crunch has developed an activity based around iron as a key micronutrient that keeps people healthy, with Lucky Iron Fish being introduced as an example of a product that has been designed to address iron deficiency.

Infirmières de l’humanité, Canada - An NGO based in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec founded in 2011 by nurses who wanted to work in close collaboration with local partners in different developing countries to prevent health problems affecting children and their families.  In rural communities in Peru, there is a high prevalence of anemia among schoolchildren. Lucky Iron Fish collaborates with Infirmières de l’humanité’s partner NGO, Centro Yanapanakusun, to adapt the Lucky Iron Fish for use in an Andean Peruvian context. Lucky Iron Fish is also helping Infirmières de l’humanité in Nicaragua, where a collaboration with Terre des Hommes-Italia is helping to prevent anemia among schoolchildren living in rural communities in the region of Masaya.

White Mountain Community Health Center, United States – White Mountain Community Health Center in Conway, New Hampshire, provides comprehensive, high-quality primary care services and health education on a sustainable basis to women, men and children in the Mount Washington Valley community, regardless of their ability to pay. Through a developing partnership, Lucky Iron Fish is made available at no cost to financially qualifying patients with iron deficiency anemia.

“Lydia and the team at Lucky Iron Fish could not have been more helpful and generous when I first reached out to them when I wanted to help provide Lucky Iron Fish to a school in the DRC, where in a village of 50,000 there is still no electricity, and wells for potable water were only recently introduced,” said Jean Palamar, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Malaika Foundation. “Thanks to the wonderful health innovation and the kind people at Lucky Iron Fish, we are poised to make a huge difference in the lives of the school children and the village as a whole.”

“Working with Lydia is a pleasure and an honour. She is a kind and talented professional with a genuine drive for effecting positive change in our world,” said Marianne Teoh, Regional Manager, Southeast Asia, Lucky Iron Fish. “Having worked with her extensively in the field, I know that she is a natural leader and communicator. Her passion for making Lucky Iron Fish accessible to communities in need around the world is second to none. I can’t think of a better ambassador to help spread the word about Lucky Iron Fish to our NGO partners.”

About Lydia 

Lydia is an intrepid world traveler and change maker with a passion for social entrepreneurship. Lydia joined  Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise in 2014 and quickly advanced to a role in community engagement. In her new role as Impact Specialist for Lucky Iron Fish, she will play a central part in building out the educational and training programs for distribution of the Lucky Iron Fish through its Buy-One-Give-One Program.

A natural communicator, she has a passion for helping people and telling the Lucky Iron Fish story. Lydia played a pivotal role representing Lucky Iron Fish at the first-ever Pitch for Good organized by Inc. Magazine and TOMS where the Lucky Iron Fish was one of six finalists, and ultimately won the Fan Favourite. She also represented Lucky Iron Fish at the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Awards in Vienna in 2016 where Lucky Iron Fish was one of the 14 finalists.

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Queen’s University and a Master of Arts in Political Science and Applied Statistics from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has completed courses toward her PhD at the University of Guelph. Lydia is a skilled videographer and photographer who loves weaving visual narratives from behind the lens of her camera – favourite subjects includes the people and places she encounters on her travels, and through this medium she continues to shed new light on Lucky Iron Fish’s work around the world.

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