Your World Cafe Host in Vancouver: Introducing Sagal Kahin


I have been waiting for a very long time to reel Sagal Kahin into the world of the Passion Proj in more than just a “check-out-this-post-and-come-to-this-event” kind of way.  And here we are.  I’m beyond excited to introduce you to Sagal – one of my nearest and dearest; a lady who inspires me (simply by the way she lives) to think differently and challenge my self-imposed restrictions on life and the way things ought to be.  Sagal holds a BA in Human Geography from the University of British Columbia, was a varsity Rugby player (and continues to kick-ass in all things sport), pottery aficionado, and lover of cooking.  She’s creative and witty – you’re in for a treat with this gal as your World Cafe Series host in Vancouver.


On August 11th, we met up at Matchstick Coffee Roasters in East Vancouver – an absolutely beautiful space perfect for dreaming big dreams and getting things done. But it’s more than just a beautiful space; I was drawn to their vision and mission:

At Matchstick Coffee Roasters, we believe that all too often we place common things into categories that they need not belong. Too many of us go about our daily routines, experiencing daily products and services, while subscribing to the underlying premise that that which is familiar must also be mundane. Common becomes status quo. Common becomes trivial. Common becomes commodity.

At the core of Matchstick is our desire to take that which is common, like a daily mug of coffee, and produce it with the highest level of care and attention. We believe that something familiar can still be special. 

AND, they strive to “source organic, seasonal, local ingredients wherever possible”.


Without further ado, here’s my interview with Sagal (along with many a picture from her instagram feed! (Follow her @sagalk):

Tell us about a great conversation you recently had

I just took part in a Young Women’s Cycling Camp, and I was lucky enough to interview the founder and organizer for an article I was writing for work. She’s AMAZING. I’m inspired by her.

She’s a doctor, has 2 children (one 3 month old and one 3 years old) and she’s super involved in the cycling community. She had this feeling that there’s not enough women in the racing community and biking community…so she said, “Ok I’m going to fill this void”. She’s busy but she just found people to help her run it..and she just did it.

One of the people who participated in this camp was Jasmin Glaesser – 2 Time World Championship medalist and Olympic bronze medalist.

Lisa’s just really cool.  She doesn’t make any money running this camp; it’s entirely volunteer, so I was asking her why she’s so obsessed with being an ambassador for this sport.  She simply said it’s because cycling has given her a lot in life and she wants to give back to that community. Through cycling, she was able to do things like travel around the world, and even ride a tandem bike with somebody who was visually impaired at the paralympics.

I’m inspired by the stories of female athletes.  And the thing about Lisa is she’s not really focused on being an athlete; she’s at a different stage of her life but really committed to the community and giving back and being a mentor for young women in sport.  And without sacrificing work and life to do that: she’d bring her baby to the session and just say: “someone hold my baby so I can show you”.  She has her cake and eats it too.

Cycling at the Burnaby Velodrome Club. July 21, 2014. @sagalk

Favourite cafe in van city and why

Culprit Coffee for when I have work to do. They have huge windows so i feel like i’m outside still. And i can babysit my bike while it’s parked outside!

Nelson the Seagull - favourite place when it’s raining.  it’s cozy; I feel like I’m inside someone’s house. And they have communal tables and soft music, dim lighting and really cool books to browse through.

Crema Coffee Bar & Bakery – because I trust them to steam the milk to a temperature that doesn’t make me gag.

I also really like them because it’s a very social coffee shop; not a lot of laptops open – people are there to have coffee – not there to do work.  And if you just walk across the street (or sit on the patio) you can see Stanley park and the Lions Gate Bridge from across the water and it’s really pretty.

What’s your go-to drink:

small americano; black

and when it’s not hot anymore, I don’t drink it. game over.

July 4, 2014. @sagalk

July 4, 2014. @sagalk

3 principles you live by

1. doing things that make me nervous…which is a lot of things [at this she laughs] and basically challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone

2. Packing my life full of work and fun in the hopes of achieving good work-life balance

3. Saying “no” and reminding myself that I don’t have to please everyone.  What other people want me to do and what I want to do are sometimes two different things and while in some contexts its harder to say “no” to people, I don’t want to consistently find myself doing what I don’t want to do.  Knowing that “No” is OK and then just owning it is important to me.

Most recently inspired by (Event, person)

I actually just made friends with this girl named Stephanie – we’re just really on the same page about a lot of things; it’s weird.  Also, she shares my love for the Whole Foods Burrito bar. She’s insanely outgoing and super friendly with people which I really admire.  She’s also always asking people really good questions – strangers included.  She’s really curious about people and can talk to anyone – and unapologetic about it. Those are all things I hope to be better at so I really admire that about her.

Favourite book, film, blog

I don’t think I have a favourite anything to be honest. I appreciate good photography, lifestyle, fashion, design and mommy blogs.  I’m very biased to an aesthetic appeal; I like beautiful spaces and read a lot of blogs that are visually inspiring.

[Some of the good stuff she’s led me to: swiss-miss, brooklyn to west, and a cup of Jo].

Tell us about your typical day

I usually wake up an hour after my alarm goes off. Almost always. I’ve yet to master the art of going to bed at a reasonable hour, so I’m always pressing snooze a million times. On an ideal day, I would get my exercise out of the way before work, but that doesn’t happen very often. Then I make a smoothie, drink a cup of coffee, and eat oatmeal, every morning. And then I bike to work. My days are not cool.


[I beg to differ. Sagal’s days are packed with goodness including unplanned 84km bike rides].

most excited about with the world cafe series: 

Having an excuse to talk to people i wouldn’t otherwise have the courage to talk to

what keeps you going when the going gets tough?

I always tell myself that regardless how it’s going, it’s eventually going to be over.  There is a deadline and whatever it is I’m not enjoying is going to end. (think: exams).  Also i read this quote and thought. YES. yes. “sleep is for billionaires.” I am not sleeping.

[oh dear].


Sagal, thanks again for jumping on board. We can’t wait to discover the movers and shakers of Vancouver with you!

Passionate Readers: stay tuned for posts from Sagal which are scheduled for the 15th of each month.

What can you do RIGHT now because you’re so jazzed?

Like us on facebook, share our posts via twitter, and submit a post to the series – here’s how!


That's all for now! @sagalk wishes you a good day along with the rest of us at the Passion Proj!

That’s all for now! @sagalk wishes you a good day along with the rest of us at the Passion Proj!




Everything you need to know about the World Cafe Series

We believe there are few things more transformative than people and their stories. This fascination and love for people combined with our absolute passion for coffee, tea and all things cafe, has led to this very simple but hopefully exciting little series.

So what’s it all about?


In a nutshell, the World Cafe series is an online collection of interviews and stories from various inspiring change makers and innovative organizations in a given local community.  In an online age, we want to bring back the face-to-face and a commitment to community and good conversation.

PS: The concept of the “World Cafe” is actually a thing! It comes from participatory community development processes which you can learn more about here.

What kind of interviews/stories/conversations do we want to feature?

We want to celebrate and learn about the people and organizations that put “extra” in the ordinary.  They don’t have to be big – they simply must do small things in big ways.

We want to know about the people who have aligned their passion with a greater sense of purpose – a purpose that in some way reaches beyond the individual and extends to a community of others.  In short, how are these individuals or organizations adding value to others and the community?

We want stories on social change, creative leadership, big ideas, and reflective learning

We want stories of local change and impact.  While individuals can submit posts from any corner of this wild world, it’s important that the organizations and individuals you choose to interview are creating impact near you.

We want to support you in cultivating a spirit of curiosity.

We want to find magic in all the places people forget to look.

Remember, there are two components to this little series:

We not only want to capture great conversations but we want to discover with you the coolest cafes in your town or city.  There’s something fun about venturing beyond the Starbucks at the corner to that family-run, hole in the wall that somehow serves up the best americanos.  What about your experience at this cafe makes it a special space? What is the cafe’s story of tea/coffee/croissants that makes them so unique?

nuts+bolts on how to submit a post

Any interview must be prefaced with a brief introduction of who you are and WHY you decided to approach this particular person or organization.  What drew you to invite him/her? What about the organization stood out to you?

Posts must be submitted to as either a Microsoft Word document or Pages Publication.  Any edits made to your submitted post will be sent back to you to review and confirm prior to the Passion Project posting your interview online.  We do however, reserve the right to refuse your submission if it does not align with the criteria discussed above.

We leave it to you to decide what questions to ask your coffee guest but here are just 3 questions we’d like you to ask them:

  1. favourite cafe in your city and why? 
  2. what’s your go-to drink?
  3. what 3 principles do you live by?

We encourage (and very nicely request) that each post include a picture of the cafe, your food/beverage of choice, the organization office space, and/or guest of honour etc. Pictures must be a minimum of 72 pixels per inch.  If for some reason you absolutely don’t have a relevant picture, don’t stress! We’re still interested in hearing from you.

What’s next up on the series?

In the next two weeks, we will be introducing you to two of our new World Cafe series point persons in Vancouver and Edmonton.  Again, we welcome posts and submissions from everyone but these folks will be providing some consistency in content.  We’ll tell you exactly when you should be tuning in to check-out their posts.

If you have any questions or are interested in being a point person in your city, please feel free to get in touch with Tarini at tarini[at]

Thanks ya’ll! Let the coffee consumption and conversations roll.









A new SHIFT: Passion HQ is moving online, with more CONTENT than ever  

We started the PP in 2009 out of a desire to help the university students around us develop and invest in their passions and at the same time, help them to see they could make a difference in their communities with the tools they had on hand.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen the project grow bigger than (at times, we’ll admit,) we were ready for. We’ve read your emails, though been slow to respond as we were re-imagining this next season for the project!

As we (E+T) have transitioned in our own personal lives, graduating from university and graduating even from Vancouver (though Vancouver will always be home for both of us!), we have also wanted the project to grow with us. We came to realize however, that the project must always serve people before people serve the project! This is not about growing the project, but rather growing our ability to serve and respond to the needs we see of people like you. As soon as this ceases to be the case, we’re not afraid to rethink why we’re here and what we should be doing differently.    

So what does this mean? We’ve been back in the incubator for hours on end dreaming and deliberating. We’ve decided that instead of being based out of our alma mater (UBC), we will be shifting to an online home. What will this look like? We will still maintain our ol stomping grounds at UBC (thanks to an incredible team out there!), but we will be making this online forum our home.

What can you look forward to?

1. A new book club starting up in September with our favourite reads and teachers that have inspired us over the years in creating this organization and will no doubt, help mold your time wherever you are dreaming. We will be starting with an oldie but a goodie entitled ‘The Art of Possibility.’ 

2. A new ‘WORLD CAFÉ’ series – starting up in mid-august, this will be an online collection of interviews and stories from various inspiring changemakers and innovative organizations across the globe

Thanks to our girl @sagalk for this pic!

Thanks to our girl @sagalk for this pic!

3. A home-grown ever-evolving tool-kit designed to support individuals and groups in starting up their own passion projects.

We will be posting more details about all of these projects in the near future, but wanted to give you just a little taste of what to expect. In the meantime, feel free to email us contact[at] if you are interested in these opportunities. 

We are so excited for what is in store. We are eternally indebted to Ritika, Efua, Vita and Joy for taking and raising this baby at our UBC location over these past 3 years of change.

Stay passionate.


T & E