Choose People Better than You: Major Sheldon Feener
Major Sheldon Feener was born and raised in Newfoundland to Salvation Army Officer parents. He has travelled across Canada in his role as a Salvation Army Officer and is currently the Executive Director of Victoria Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre. Shy as a child, he worked hard to overcome his lack of confidence as he knew that he had been created for a greater purpose. His lack of confidence was stopping him from being the person he was meant to be.
2020 VCLA Winner in Healthy Standard of Living category. Major Sheldon Feener, Executive Director of the Victoria Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre.
As an ordained minister, Major Feener believes in a higher purpose to life. When he had completed his training he was initially disappointed with the ministry appointment he was assigned. It took time for him to find the inspiration he needed to continue. Feener talks about his moment of change, “God spoke to me and said that I had reaped what others had sown – now was my time to sow, so that others would reap.” This moment changes his leadership style forever.
Feener describes how William Booth in 1865 founded The Salvation Army. The church now serves more than 400 communities in Canada and runs three churches in Victoria. He is responsible for the successful running of the Addictions Rehabilitation Centre and helps people who deal with substance abuse and mental health issues to reach a healthy standard of living. He is also instrumental in running the transitional housing program, the brain injury program as well as helping to provide professional counselling that digs deep into the issues that keep people out of homes. His programs work.
Major Sheldon Feener has safely, affordably, and permanently house more than 170 men since his appointment in 2017.
Being part of essential services, he has spent the pandemic serving from the frontlines and providing community leadership by supporting to the homeless and vulnerable as well as continuing to provide community meals.
Sheldon is immensely proud of the work that he is doing and attributes his success to his team and the occasional pizza party. He acknowledges the very real challenges they face on a regular basis but says that “being able to work with a team who treat this work as a calling rather than a job has made it more meaningful”.
As a leader, he understands that it is important to hire people smarter than yourself “Surround yourself with people who know more.” His leadership style is all about the community and he believes in acknowledging people’s contribution and celebrating them.
By Chandrima Mazumdar, I write on topics related to leadership, diversity, media and gender equality.