Q. What major disappointments/failures have you had in this field?
Not failures, but learnings. The line between my paid work, community work, and neighbourhood work is often so fuzzy, so I will answer in a general sense as a community developer.
There’s a line you need to walk between not consulting enough, on one hand, and getting stuck trying to please everyone, on the other. I’ve started things without doing a good job of understanding the history and context and ended up creating more problems. On the other hand, if you put yourself out there and try to create and make an impact, there will always be people who will criticise or disagree with what you’re doing, or feel that you may be stepping on toes. So I’ve learned that you need to get to know history and context, and do a good job with consulting with people, but if you really believe in what you’re doing, and your intention is a positive one for your community, you can’t let naysayers stop you.
Q. Would you rather draw up plans and design a programme or be responsible for implementing a programme? Why?
Definitely, draw up plans and create something new. If you take a look at my desk or filing cabinet, you’ll see I’m not much of a details person! I simply love the experience of imagining what could be and trying to turn it into something real.
Q. What kinds of problems do you like to handle?
Big ones and structural ones! I like to figure out why something is the way it is. If you imagine starting from scratch and you wouldn’t do it this way, it’s time to imagine a new way of doing something.
Q. What do you think is going to happen in the Waterloo Region community in the next five years?
I’m really positive on this community. I think there’s an energy, compassion, and spirit here that is unique and will serve us well into the future. As a community, it feels like there is a growing sense that by coming together across sectors, backgrounds, and differences, we can solve big problems in creative and innovative ways.
Managing growth, diversifying our economy, creating enough affordable housing, ensuring those who are marginalised and excluded have new opportunities to participate and belong – these are big challenges that we are facing and will face in the future. If any community can tackle them, I think Waterloo Region can.
Originally posted 2016-04-25 17:56:06.