“I’ve never compromised who I am, not ever. If I’ve gotten anywhere in my life it’s been on my own merits.”Cher
When I announced that I was going to run for mayor, I made the decision that I would run on my own merit rather than saying negative things about others. I made the commitment to offer my authentic self to the community and want you, the voters, to make the choice that is right for you.
One thing I do know, is that I have the skills, abilities, and experience to lead this Town into the future. As I’ve met with community members I continually ask the following question: “If you’re sitting on the fence about voting for me, what concerns do you have?” I have enjoyed hearing the feedback people have been providing me! Two of the most common concerns are addressed below:
“You don’t have any experience in municipal government! How can you possibly lead a new Council?”
This is a great question and one that I initially spent a lot of time thinking about as people were urging me to consider running for mayor. As I reflected on this, I was reminded of the numerous transferable skills and experience that I do have, as well as the success of first time mayors across the province, such as Nenshi. With this, I chose not to allow imposter syndrome to take over. What it all comes down to is transferable skills, a dedication to work with and lead a strong council, and my drive to continue to learn and grow daily. The following points address my lack of municipal government experience:
- Experience as President/Chair of many organizations. I have been in an executive position on multiple charitable boards for over 15 years. Many of those years have been spent as president or chair. I know what is required to run effective meetings, coach CEOs, and truly govern an organization without stepping into the operational territory that is held for the CEO (or in this situation, Chief Administrative Officer – CAO).
- Strong knowledge of operations vs. governance. Maintaining a focus on governance rather than operations is crucial to empowering and enabling the single staff member that the Board (or in this situation, Council) supervises. An early mentor (you know who you are), really helped me learn how to fulfil my role as a board member to allow both the operations and governance of the organization to excel.
- Ability to build trust. In order for a team to function at its highest level, trust needs to be built and maintained. This means the leader of the meeting must be able to facilitate respectful conversation that allow people to bring forward various perspectives. This type of respectful facilitation and leadership is something I do on a regular basis within both my day-job and volunteer activities.
- Desire to learn and grow. As I’ve said to many, I’m not an expert in municipal government and I’m not going to pretend that I am. However, I do have the ability to learn what is required, whether this includes understanding various government acts (I work in post-secondary and I am required to interpret acts regularly), developing or interpreting policies ( I am a peer reviewer for Imagine Canada’s Standards program and have reviewed policy for numerous national organizations), or acting as the official representative for the Town (I’m often engaged to be the representative for the numerous organizations I serve on). As a mentor and teacher I have learned one key lesson, it is much easier to teach and learn a task (such as how to interpret the Municipal Government Act) than it is to become an effective leader. I have spent the past fifteen years of my career, education, and volunteer work developing as a leader and I am not done yet (learning is a life-long process that never ends). I am confident that the skill set I possess today will allow me to effectively lead the town.
“You are very busy; will you have time for this?”
I acknowledge that I am very busy right now! So many opportunities came my way this fall and with the support of my husband and son, I decided that I would take them all on. I just received a promotion at work, I’m teaching my first University class and I’m running for mayor…. this leads to a very busy fall, but I am excited to take on these challenges! My strategy for managing all these things are as follows:
- Reducing my commitments. Regardless of how this election goes, I will be reducing my volunteer commitments within the next few months. We have so many amazing people in our community who have stepped up and have a strong desire to get involved and I’m so excited to see these people and organizations grow! For example, I’m ready to pass the torch on to the new members of the Parks and Recreation Society and watch it flourish. My hope is that the partnership with the Town continues to grow to support the needs of our community.
- Investing in what I choose to remain committed to. I love being involved in many different projects, organizations and ideas; however, I’m at the stage of life where I need to scale back and to really invest in what I commit to. For me, this means my family, my job, teaching (until the end of this semester) and serving as mayor. One of my core values is tenacity, and once I make a commitment to something, I don’t give up. I have led and been part of the restructuring of several organizations, which can be very frustrating and draining at times. During all of this change, I kept the end-goal in mind and saw the process through. I find staying committed to the end provides me with an immense feeling of fulfillment. This is my promise to you as a mayor: you will have my time, commitment, and passion for change and leadership!
We have 29 days left until the election and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity this race provides to get to know my neighbours a little bit better. Regardless of the outcome, I’m going to come away from this experience with a much richer sense of community.
So, tell me fellow Coalhurstians, what concerns do you have about voting to elect me as the mayor of our amazing community? I truly want to know and hear from you. Let’s chat!
I have not made a decision at this time. In my experience there are advantages to having experience in organizations out side of business. Many times a leader must be more flexable and try harder to get full cooperation in a non business setting. That thought is a point for you. I wish you success in all your endeavors.