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CONGRATULATIONS Sharlene Law – VCLA Winner for Healthy Standard of Living

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

In 2018, Sharlene Law organized the Umbrella Society’s first fundraiser. National Hockey League alumni were invited to play a charity game in Victoria B.C. The Montreal Canadians arrived on a snowy day. Then played against the Greater Victoria Firefighters. This event was a success. So the Umbrella Society invited The Boston Bruins to play against the firefighters later that year. Through this fundraiser, the Society raised enough money to put a down payment on Foundation House. A home where men can receive support through programs and counselling while recovering from addiction.

Sharlene's journey towards buying the house began by deciding to help people deal with addiction. Sharlene began her career at the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Then Ms. Law began her work with the Umbrella Society doing administration and outreach. Eventually, she took on the role of Executive Director, where she uses leadership skills learned in earlier years.

Sharlene's journey began on the lower mainland. She was born in North Vancouver. Then Ms. Law's family moved to West Vancouver where they own a restaurant. Began by her grandparents in 1926, The Tomahawk was the first drive-in restaurant on the lower mainland. Sharlene recalls going there after school to wait for her mom and getting a shake from her grandpa.

Then as a young adult, Sharlene had leadership opportunities. Ms. Law began working at her mom’s clothing store. Then took on more responsibilities when her mom was recovering from surgery. It was during this time that Sharlene developed a work ethic.

Doing waitressing and office work, Sharlene developed as a leader. She wanted to learn the processes of how things worked. Engaging her curiosity, Sharlene learned how things in the back end affected the front end. Today, Sharlene has realized the importance of delegating with trust and learning from her team.

“They are the experts on what is going on out there”

Sharlene listens to her team. Ms. Law knows the significance of being able to talk to people who understand the pressures of the field. Sharlene believes in leadership alongside the team and works collaboratively with them:

"their voice is as important as mine"

In addition to delegating with trust and learning from the team, Sharlene is a role model to her squad. To manage stress she bakes and spends time completing puzzles. Sharlene encourages her team to also do things they enjoy to de-stress. Sharlene tells the team to take a step back and see things from a different perspective when feeling the effects of addictions counselling.

“you can’t be effective if you don’t take time for yourself”

Sharlene uses a value based leadership style. This means trusting her instincts. Value based leadership ensures that the figurehead's values align with the organization's. It means stepping outside of the agency's strategic goals to improve the entire community.

For Sharlene Law, the future means enjoying the continued growth of the Umbrella Society. She is excited about creating a succession plan for the organization. Sharlene will enjoy training new leaders. Sharlene also looks forward to continued personal growth and development.

You can learn more about the Umbrella Society by going to their website:

By Madeline Johnston - Blogger

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