Proudly Surrey

I have resided in South Surrey for over 24 years and have seen the division of the city increased as its population expands. I see the strength of Surrey in its diversity and inclusion and would like to contribute to its continued development and progress.


Together we are stronger!

The Journey Begins Here

Like many of us, I am a transplant from elsewhere. I grew up and was schooled in Ontario. I had the dubious distinction of being the only black child in my Elementary and first years of High School and University.


I am aware of the challenges, isolation, distance and disengagement that being new can pose. I have found that it is difficult to find common grounds and embrace diversity when one is not able to see any similarities. Separation and disengagement can have devastating consequences on a city because it creates an ‘us and them’ attitude and forces a governance approach that continues to support interests and divisions.


After three degrees and a varied career in education and social services working with city and provincial government departments, community and non-profit organizations, I moved to Surrey and worked in international education with New Westminster School District.


Since then I have had the privilege and pleasure to work in many countries and regions including the Caribbean, Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America and the Middle East in administration, management, education, planning, program and project management and evaluation.

Teacher/Educator

During my High School years, to earn money, I served in the 30th Field Artillery Regiment and was also fortunate to attend University on the ROTP program. This provided weekend and summer employment.


My first degree from the University of Western Ontario, was a BA in International Politics/History. This was totally opposite to what I was initially accepted for, which was ‘a degree in Psychology’. After obtaining a BA I pondered for a while on what the next step would be, ‘lawyer or Foreign Affairs (diplomat)’, I decided on B.Ed. and a teacher qualification. So, I taught High School history, politics, economic and integrated studies for a while.


I truly enjoyed teaching young people, especially those that the system or individuals had told could not achieve anything. I believe in the phrase “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” (UNCF), and the power of achievement when a guided hand and support is given. Through my teaching I was given the opportunity to experience the joy of learning and the excitement and passion of students when they realized that they could accomplish anything.


Some years later I fulfilled a life long dream and completed a PhD in Education Administration, and subsequently had the privilege to work with and advise governments and ministries around the globe on quality education and inclusive policies. This path resulted in me working with the Commonwealth on a diplomatic posting as Head of Education to 53 Commonwealth countries. My role was to advise and support Ministers of Education, primarily from developing countries, on quality teaching and learning and the strengthening of their education policies and systems.


It was a turning point for me because I became aware and more appreciative of the quality of the Canadian Public Education System, and the importance that this represents; one of equality and access to everyone regardless of status, wealth, ethnicity, culture, and/or language.


Today, I have the great honour to continue to affect change to a complete new group of students as they seek higher learning and find their way into affecting change in their communities.

Advocate

I have spent a large part of my adult life in careers advocating for our vulnerable population. My commitment is reflected in my work with community groups and non-profit organizations. After completing university in London, I returned to Ottawa and worked for the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau where I worked with youth who were homeless, living in facilities or group homes, many with mental health or addiction issues, and many exposed to or living in violence.


After some time I returned to school to complete an MA in Criminology focusing on victimization and Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD). I then worked for the Elizabeth Fry Society as Director for the Women’s Halfway House and Director of Policy. I also worked as a Suicide Prevention/Intervention Trainer and provided training to community workers and police officers. My work also included working with the Provincial Social Services Department and was responsible for Refugee Settlement and Adjustment.


In BC my work continued with vulnerable populations as Executive Director of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, and as Director of the UBC Women’s Center where I became painfully aware of the many challenges and varied issues of social and health inequalities, and the lack of resources that affect access and multiple exclusion. 

Politics

My journey into politics has been somewhat like a tapestry in the making. I have been interested in politics since high school when I ran for the leader of student council the year after being crown ‘Snow Queen’. Why? Because I wanted to show that one was not limited by their colour or gender, that a woman can be any or both.


I have always had the desire to serve and contribute to my community and so some years ago ran for School Board Trustee in Surrey. I was not successful, but the experience shaped and strengthened my resolve about the importance of strong leadership, the availability of a space for open community dialogue and the wealth and value that diversity and inclusion can bring to the enhancement and progress of a city.


This desire for strengthening openness, community dialogue and ethical decision making was further strengthened after working with Commonwealth countries and other international communities.