Transform the SFU Experience

A compassionate approach to leadership: Les Reimer

March 22, 2024

With more than two decades as a dedicated member of SFU's Health & Counselling team, Les Reimer is no stranger to supporting both students and colleagues.

Currently serving as Acting Associate Director, Counselling Services, Reimer has provided career mentorship for more than 130 students over the years as part of the Practicum Counsellor Training Program that he developed and coordinated. His impact on students seeking mental health support, as well as his steadfast support for his team, inspired colleagues to nominate him for the 2023 Staff Achievement Award in Leadership.

Reimer is humble about receiving the recognition, which recognizes individuals who create the conditions for their team to flourish through the integration of progressive people practices that centre equity, encourage healthy working practices and ensure a thriving SFU. He sees his responsibility as going beyond teaching and leadership, and  acknowledges the importance of his roles as both a colleague, and in his own words, “a fellow human being.” 

“Being nominated by my team is the greatest award, rather than receiving the award itself," says Les. "The nomination is deeply appreciated, and a humbling and honouring gift.”

The counselling team serves hundreds of SFU students each year. As a leader, Reimer is described as promoting self-care and professional growth within the team, and fostering a culture of collaboration, shared vision and collegial support. He is recognized for putting the values of a healthy workplace first and acknowledging the difficult and challenging work that the team navigates on a daily basis.

“In one of the hardest chapters of my own personal life, I was met with nothing but support, compassion, trust and encouragement by Les,” affirms a colleague.

Reimer also encourages professional development and allows counsellors to continue to offer support and care in ways that honour their talents and skills. He says he reflects regularly on how he is inspired by his team, appreciating their uniqueness, character and commitment, dedication and kindness. 

Outside of SFU, Reimer is a devoted husband, father and grandfather who spends his time being present and caring for his family. He describes having a genuine awe for the human experience and cares deeply for the people he works with, both as a therapist and supervisor.