People

Sam Thiara

Sweet award

September 7, 2007

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Sam Thiara (above) is an Indo-Canadian who marches to the beat of his own drum with the British Columbia Regiment Irish Pipes and Drums. But it’s his ability to help others march to the beat of their own drums in life that makes him stand out at SFU, where he has won this year’s BC Sugar Achievement Award.

As a student affairs officer with SFU Business—a position unique among Canadian universities—Thiara helps business students shine in their studies, community work, international exchange programs and worldwide competitions.

“Aside from selecting and grooming students for competitions, I encourage them to think beyond transcripts and grade point averages and become effective communicators,“ he explains.

One of SFU’s highest honours, the $5,500 BC Sugar Award recognizes a student, staff or faculty member for garnering national and international praise that enhances the university’s reputation.

Thiara, a North Vancouver resident, says he’ll use the money to help finance his master’s degree in leadership at the University of Exeter in England. The SFU business and political science graduate has helped more than 20 community organizations achieve their goals, including the Leaders of Tomorrow, the Children’s Wish Foundation and the North Shore Neighbourhood House.

His previous honours include a 2006 Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and the 2002 Outstanding Grad Award from Leadership Vancouver, a community leadership program from which he graduated and later became a board member and chair of its graduate network committee.

Thiara also played an active role in helping Vancouver win its 2010 Winter Olympics bid, conducting 60 open houses, implementing municipal and community projects and networking with political and community representatives.

What drives him? “I am passionate about what I learn and about leadership, about making it enable me to give back to the community,” says Thiara. “My favourite quote is, ‘Everyone’s life is an autobiography. Make yours worth reading.”
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