October is Women’s History Month in Canada. It is a time to recognize the achievements and contributions by women from the past and present, who are making Canada a better and more inclusive place to live.
The theme for this year is “Through Her Lens: Commemorating the Diversity of Women.” During this month, we are shining a spotlight on the exceptional women at Covenant House Vancouver who tirelessly strive to foster equity and inclusivity in our workplace and in the care that we provide to youth who journey with us.
What department do you work in and what is your job title?
Associate Director, Technology and Innovation. I oversee all the technology at Covenant House (along with my awesome team). I also oversee our building projects, including the current Pender renovation.
How long have you worked at Covenant House Vancouver (CHV)?
How did you find out about CHV and what made you want to work here?
A friend of mine worked here for a long time and recommended the job of managing technology, when it came up years ago. She loved working at CHV, and knew that I wanted a job where I could make a positive impact.
Could you share a memorable interaction with a youth or donor?
I don’t get to interact with the youth or donors very often, but hearing all of the stories about how much the youth enjoy the new Drake building and the spaces that we built just for them, is really satisfying.
If you had to describe CHV in so many words, what would you say?
CHV is an incredible place where there is a full-force effort to meet the needs of every individual youth who comes into our care. We know that our teamwork makes the difference in the lives of youth, and it shows.
What motivates you to show up to work every day?
Knowing that finishing the Pender renovation will make 44 beds available for youth who are in desperate need of housing, pushes me every day. Also, I’m motivated to get that space right for those youth. I want to make sure that it is a place where they can grow, feel more independent, and learn life skills, as they prepare to move out into the world.
Why is CHV important?
The longer I work here, the more I realize that we are a model and an inspiration for other organizations across BC, and throughout North America. When people hear or see what we offer, they want to know how to replicate it in their communities. It is really inspiring to know that not only do we have a lot to offer the youth who access our programs and services, but that we can be helping future youth in other communities, by inspiring those communities to create their own youth programs and housing.
What do you love about your job and working at CHV?
I love the variety in my job. Every day I wake up knowing that it will be different from yesterday. I also love working with people from all over the organization, as well as our external partners, to solve problems, whether they are technical, or construction related.
Could you tell us about 2–3 accomplishments that you’ve achieved and why you are proud of them?
Working on, and completing, the Drake building was a big accomplishment. It was my first project of this kind, but with my project management background and love of learning, it was a natural fit. I’m proud to be a part of housing creation for those in need of it. I’m also proud of how far we have come in our technology and cyber security over the past few years. We have a big responsibility to protect our donors’, employees’, and clients’ data. The protections that we have in place and the training that we do as employees are held to a high standard because of that.
Do you have a role model or someone who inspires you?
My dad inspires me. He is creative, generous, wise, and a man of deep Christian faith. I love when I get to visit with him and have debates. We don’t always agree, but he has taught me how to listen to others and think through my ideas. He is also amazing at turning ideas into reality. Anything he pursues he accomplishes, including writing a book and building a huge cedar maze and zipline at our Christmas tree farm.
How can society better support women to work towards equity? What are the roadblocks?
Women around the world still face discrimination in so many ways, whether it is related to health, education, the right to work, or even the spaces that we can be included in, without fear or repercussions. I feel that education and listening are key, specifically in North America, where on paper women have a lot of rights, but in reality, are still limited in how our voice is heard and how we are treated.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
This is a great time to be reminded of everything that women have accomplished in the past, but also that we have a ways to go for full equality. There is still more work to be done.
Thank you, Dana, for sharing your thoughts and inspiring words.