SickKids Innovators Q&A: Monica Frischkorn

What brought you to SickKids? How did you come to learn about the Innovators Program?

I wish I could say my family became involved with SickKids through philanthropic networking or by happenstance, however, it was necessity that first brought my family through the doors of SickKids. After having one child with an almost fatal birth defect and a few years later, a child born with an extremely rare and fatal genetic disorder, my family became regular donors of SickKids. A few years ago, I was looking to become more involved in philanthropy and wanted feel more connected with my community and the likeminded individuals who were also giving back. The Innovators program was exactly what I was hoping for.
SickKid Innovator Monica Frischkorn
How does the Innovators program mesh with your personal and professional life? 
Coming from an experiential and events background, I’m really drawn to how Innovators creates meaningful experiences around philanthropic giving. The program takes care to educate its members and give them more autonomy over their giving experience. 
I’m also a social butterfly – I love to get outside of my own routine and experiences and meet new people I might not have the opportunity to come across in my day to day. The Innovators networking events are a great way to do that!

"Our family has been supporting philanthropic initiatives with SickKids for many years..."

Your involvement with SickKids goes beyond the Innovators program. In what ways has your family been involved philanthropically?

Our family has been supporting philanthropic initiatives with SickKids for many years, however, recently were presented with the opportunity to support a unique role for a nurse practitioner dedicated to the Novel Therapeutics Clinic part of Precision Child Health. The role specifically supports the care and co-ordination of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, genetic disease patients and assists on the development and expanded vision of therapies for patients with rare conditions.

Supporting this role gives us comfort knowing that families have one point of contact to help them navigate follow ups, therapies, new doctors, transition plans … you name it. The process can be overwhelming when parents should really only need to focus on their child.


How do you decide which philanthropic initiatives to invest your time and resources in? Any advice for people looking to make a difference? 
Deciding which initiatives to invest in is not an easy process when there are so many worthy things to consider! Because of my family’s personal experience with SickKids – we tried to look at things that might not always get the spotlight or things that might ease families’ burdens.  

For anyone looking to make a difference, my advice would be to lean into your own values and passions. Talking to others can also help provide insights or a perspective you might not have considered. 


It’s now been more than a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As someone who works in events, how have you and your team pivoted to the new virtual environment?

It’s definitely been a year of fast paced learning and constant adaptation. Helping clients navigate a new reality and achieve their business objectives has had its challenges, but overall has highlighted an incredible sense of resilience. I think we are all craving to be back in person again, however, this past year has changed the way we structure programing and helped us to focus more intently on the viewer and attendee experience.  


What TV shows or movies have been keeping you entertained during the pandemic?
I love family crime dramas. Animal Kingdom, Sons of Anarchy and Bloodline were at the top for me in that category. I also have been getting into a lot of international television and I have to say I was really impressed with the German TV series “Dark”. Highly recommend if you are into a little bit of fictional mind bending.

What is the first place you will travel post-pandemic? 
Anywhere with a view that isn’t another condo building! I would really love to go to Morocco and Madeira. Get a little beach and maybe a bit of surf in, explore the desert dunes and then get some hiking in on Portugal’s archipelago. 


What is the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

Learn something new every day. Have the mindset of a student. Never think you are too old to ask questions or know too much to learn something new.

I’m also a fan of the quote from Betty White – “The older you get, the better you get. Unless you are a banana” It may not be a piece of advice that was given to me directly, but it reminds me to keep growing and learning every day.