Self-Employed Musician, Deputy Mayor of Woodstock
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I was elected at age 30, and I am really proud of how I have grown into the role of Deputy Mayor. There is no real training for political office holders - it's up to the individual to build relationships in the community and with colleagues. Understanding how to be effective within in any system, even one as small as the municipal government for 5200 people, it's a very complex journey.
What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
I feel we have a tremendous opportunity to build a 21st century identity for Atlantic Canada. One that includes the traditional closeness with the land, with friends, family and neighbours, but also includes the benefits of affordable communities and digital technology. Opening our communities to reconciliation with Indigenous people, welcoming newcomers, and building more inclusive decision-making processes will be a key to this transformation.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you? What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
I think I might currently be in my biggest stage of growth. It's hard to tell while it's happening. I have begun lately to think seriously about the role of fear in my life, to investigate where and how it is present, and to move ahead even with fear in the background. I LOVE podcasts, especially CBC podcasts (Ideas, Writers and Company, the Sunday Edition), Tim Ferris, and Tara Brach.
What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
It's okay to have fear. It's okay to move ahead even if you're afraid. I want to keep encouraging other people to do the same.
Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
My earliest inspirations were members of my own family - my parents and my Grandmother. Also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These days, I am inspired by regular people who overcome obstacles in their lives. The ability of the human spirit to carry on is super inspiring. I have a large pantheon on personal heroes.
What would you have done differently?
I would have taken more time sooner to reflect on my life and not stayed so busy that my schedule was in charge!
What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you've faced? What motivated you to make the choices you've made? What are the principles you live by?
My priorities were to help the community grow and thrive, and to show people that the arts are not a 'frill' - that they are a fundamental part of being human. I also feel rural people and communities are very undervalued, and that they deserve support and respect. One important principle for me is to be truthful in my words - to speak in simple but powerful terms that everyone can understand. I feel giving respect to each person is very important.
How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships? What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences)?
Learning how to listen is crucial - sometimes what people are telling you is hard to hear. Also, learning how to accept that what you intended to do or say is not what the other person heard or experienced. I am working on being less judgmental and impatient. Being able to genuinely apologize and mean it is a sign of emotional maturity, not weakness.
Arts Advocate, Organizer, Volunteer, Musician, Town Councillor, DIY Project Lover, Lifelong Learner