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It only takes one idea to change things but for that idea to grow into something great, there needs to be leadership and support. How can we all work together to create a wonderful world for the future generations?
Tell us about your role in your community or where you work
I am an Economic Development Coordinator for the Township of Langley. My work involves close communication with local businesses, business associations, community groups and stakeholders. The Economic Investment and Development Department assists businesses with expansion & relocation, provide information on resources and help them get connected with municipal departments and other government agencies. Everyday is very different from the last, as some days I may be out meeting businesses, community groups or at conference and other days I may spend just answering e-mails. I work closely with other departments to provide answers to inquires from the public or other organizations. We run a number of different programs that involve local businesses and residents. Often attend meetings and events to promote the Township of Langley. Help in drafting promotional pieces and content for the economic development website. We also conduct surveys and collect data that we make available to the public. This position also involves bringing new ideas forward, planning and executing programs in the community and reporting back to the residents, Mayor and Council.
Tell us a story about a time you brought people together to improve your community.
The Economic Investment and Development Department conducted the Age-friendly Business Recognition Program. The Township of Langley recognizes those businesses that have made a commitment to being age-friendly. During the first year of the program businesses were approached directly to apply for the program if they felt they were age-friendly. While it was successful, seniors shared with us that they felt they had something valuable to contributed and wanted to be involved. So for the second year, we reach out to the seniors first as opposed to businesses. Seniors could share with us information about services that this age demographic needs, what the diversity of services that they as buyers consume, and about businesses already in the community that do a great job serving their accessibility and service needs. We went out and met with several groups of seniors, organized gatherings and asked them to nominate businesses. Not only did we get a number of nominations but when we went to the nominated businesses, they were thrilled about the nominations and excited to get involved with the program. Attention was brought to things they may not have consider before, like automatic doors or providing seating for seniors waiting in line.
What challenges in your community or the world are you trying to address?
The Township of Langley’s population is projected to double by 2040 and we need to make sure the infrastructure is there to accommodate this increase in population. I regularly hear from local businesses about transportation / transit challenges, rising costs, labour shortage and shortage of skilled works. These are just some of the concerns of the residents in the Township of Langley and as an Economic Development Coordinator it’s my job to come up with ideas to help the residents and businesses. How is the Township of Langley going to continue to grow at such a high rate and maintain the quality of life the residents currently enjoy? What do we need to start doing now so that in 20 to 30 years we can continue to be proud of how our municipality has evolved, grown and diversified? As for my own personal mission, I’m concerned about the environment and how it will look for my kids in 20 to 30 years. There are so many environmental concerns around the world that sometime it feels like the world is doomed. How can we start to make changes at the municipal levels to help the environment? How can we encourage businesses and residents to make changes that will help the environment.
What do you want to learn in this program? How will you use that in your work?
As an Economic Development Coordinator for the Township of Langley I want to learn how I can support the Township’s vision. With the coordinator title, I have been given a big responsibility and I want to make sure I have the skills and knowledge do carry out this role. I want to be knowledgeable about current trends and then be able to plan, execute and deliver programs based on the municipalities needs. I also want to learn the best ways to engage the residents of our community and have them involved from the start with various programs and initiatives. We always have a few residents that come forward but how do we get more residents to come forward and get involved? How do we raise awareness amongst residents about issues & opportunities, that then enables them to feel heard/involved in elements of decisions made so that they can better support policies, initiatives, services, etc. My position requires me to be in constant contact with local leaders, residents and organizations. Through this program I hope to enhance my communication skills, so that I am confident working with people from all sectors. Learn to engage people so that we can all work together towards a common goal.