This feature highlights one of many women who make a difference in the community, put on by ACAWS and the Alberni Valley News as part of the 16 Days of Activism. Read our other features here.
I am the mother of two young men. I have lived and worked in Port Alberni for 18 years in a variety of leadership roles for not-for-profit agencies and projects—lately in Project Management and Community Development. I am particularly interested in finding innovation within the intersections business, social services and social entrepreneurship to create sustainable change.
I have a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management and I have used my background in leadership, finance and entrepreneurship to successfully write grants for and complete over $1 million worth of community impact projects in Port Alberni.
Fun facts: I am a BCRPA certified personal fitness trainer. I love making people sweat. I love being active outdoors and climbing mountains, even though I am afraid of heights over two feet. Every time I try to conquer mountain biking, I end up eating a face full of trail dirt with my legs forming an unfortunate human-bike pretzel.
I like to think I am a disruptor in my own little pocket of the community. I push at the edges of business and society a little bit each day. I am able to link with a variety of people who like to push at the edges, as well. Lasting social change is going to come through the development of the social enterprise models of business. I believe that business has a responsibility to society, not to shareholders. With the help of some fabulous teams, we are already testing these ideas.
I would like to help all not-for-profits reach the ability to freely achieve their mandates and develop the community economy through the profit generated by organization owned social enterprise. That’s my dream anyways! I have a LOT of ideas!
From the perspective of women entrepreneurs in business, I think we work towards gender equality by being role models of a gender in a field underrepresented by different genders. Personally, I don’t allow myself to feel challenged by stereotypes of perceived gender abilities in business world or in the world. I know they exist, I just like to try to push past that—I was raised that way.
I think all genders deserve to wake up in the morning, feel strong and say “the question isn’t ‘who is going to let me’, it’s ‘who is going to stop me.’” I allow myself to say that each day, although some days are not that easy.
I have never had anything handed to me. I have struggled, grew up in poverty, lived through adversity and worked insanely hard for my education and for the work I am privileged to do. Waking up in the morning and believing in yourself is a right for all genders.
As a personal trainer for over seven years, I have had the privilege of seeing people capture their inner strength and seeing their personal fire of belief and strength grow as they grew stronger. My fitness brand never looked to body image as a goal. Instead, we worked on feeling good in our bodies, capturing the feeling of strength in body and soul. Seeing the power of physical fitness transforming a person’s spirit has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
I think this attitude matters especially because I have two sons and I want them to see a strong mother role model. I want them to be accepting, open minded partners and fathers.
I love coaching. I am honored when I get to do that via fitness, business or personal. I was honored to have a friend invite me to coach one morning before a very important career changing interview. I am so proud of this person and to have a little role in their journey. This person aced their interview and is now in a pioneering leadership role.