If you have been following along, last month, we ran a series of posts in celebration of Women’s History Month in Canada. The month was dedicated to acknowledging the remarkable accomplishments and valuable contributions of women, both historical and contemporary, in shaping a more inclusive and improved Canada.
We spent October shining a spotlight on the exceptional women at Covenant House Vancouver (CHV) who work tirelessly to foster equity and inclusivity in our workplace and in the care that we provide to youth who journey with us. Even though Women’s History Month is over, we aren’t done celebrating and spotlighting a couple more incredible women that we are lucky enough to work with.
What department do you work in and what is your job title? |
I am the Chief Executive Officer at Covenant House Vancouver.
How long have you worked at Covenant House Vancouver (CHV)?
I have been here for 5 months.
How did you find out about CHV and what made you want to work here?
I was working in health and social services in BC and on strategic planning around mental health and psychosocial support for youth, when I heard about the incredible work of CHV. I was then approached by an external group to consider applying for the CEO role at CHV. The more I learned about the important work of CHV and the continuum of care, the more that I was smitten and knew that I had to apply. I am honoured to be in this role and working with such an incredible team towards a most important mission.
Could you share a memorable interaction with a youth or donor?
There are so many moments I could share in my first months. One that I love is when I was interacting with a group of youth who were so excited for movie night at CHV. They had wanted to dress up for the occasion and they were full of smiles and laughter talking about the evening ahead. It was a beautiful moment as this is what every youth deserves — to have hope, joy, friendship, a community, and anticipation of the future. It was a beautiful to witness.
If you had to describe CHV in so many words, what would you say?
I would say it’s a place offering healing, hope, and it’s where youth can begin making dreams a reality.
What motivates you to show up to work every day?
The youth that we serve depend on us 24/7/365.
Why is CHV important?
We offer a full continuum of care that meets each youth with a one-size-fits-one approach. Wherever a youth is in their journey, we have the programs to support them.
What do you love about your job and working at CHV?
I work with the greatest team doing the most important work in serving youth in our community. I am grateful to work alongside a talented team towards an inspiring mission. I feel so much gratitude to be part of CHV.
Could you tell us about 2–3 accomplishments that you’ve achieved and why you are proud of them?
Throughout my career journey, I feel so much gratitude to have been part of building and strengthening programs globally that provide access to those in need of health and social services. There were times that people would say, “this can’t be done” or “it’s impossible,” and I am so very glad that we always put the community first and found a way.
I am also so grateful to be Co-Chair of Women in Global Health Canada which is an official partner of the WHO. This is a global movement to achieve gender equality.
Do you have a role model or someone who inspires you?
There are so many, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg always comes to mind.
How can society better support women to work towards equity? What are the roadblocks?
We need to work to achieve gender transformative leadership, have equal representation of women in leadership and decision making as well as fair pay, protection from sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and to put an end to unpaid work.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
It means so very much and there is power in our collective voice to amplify and bring change.
Thank you, Deb, for sharing your thoughts and inspiring words.