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Leanne Dalton

2008 Staff achievement awards: Leanne Dalton, personal achievement

January 8, 2009

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Each year, SFU’s staff achievement awards highlight the exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments of staff members. Throughout this semester, SFU News will feature profiles on each of the 2008 winners, who will be recognized at a formal luncheon at the Diamond Alumni Centre.

If there is one word to describe Leanne Dalton, it is ‘determined’. She is determined to overcome, with good grace, her daily trials. In fact, she says, "I’m going to be happy if it kills me."

The director of the new Student Central, Dalton won this year’s personal achievement award for her cheerful, positive attitude and perseverance on the job in the face of several chronic situations she copes with daily: her own battle with Crohn’s disease, which is a debilitating gastro-intestinal auto-immune disorder, and the need for constant vigilance in managing her young son Oliver’s dangerous Type 1 diabetes. Recently, she also learned that one of her three-year-old twin sons is at very high risk for developing the disease.

It was Oliver’s diabetes that led Dalton to SFU. The SFU Childcare Society was the only day care that would accept a two-year-old diabetic—and she needed to be close by in case of emergencies. So she closed down her fledgling human resources business and began shopping her resumé around SFU, finally landing a job as coordinator for the new U-Pass system, a job she held until it no longer required her stewardship. Since then, she laughs, "if there’s a project on campus that has no time, no money and no specifications, then that’s the job I’m going to be put into. I love these kinds of challenges."

A four-year stint as volunteer chair of the SFU Childcare Society also threw Dalton some hefty trials, particularly as she manoeuvred her way through the October 2007 strike. Says one nominator, "she endured a painful public disregard for her character and volunteerism." In fact, says Dalton, "It was a really horrible time," but she persevered until the strike was settled before handing in her resignation.

Dalton says it is her colleagues’ support that has sustained her through difficult times, including the death of her mother when she was pregnant with twins. "I have a tremendous amount of loyalty to SFU," she says. "SFU saved my career, so I have a huge amount of interest in being as flexible for the university as it has been for me."

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