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Food Security & Social Justice Leadership Award- Vanessa Pattison, Katrina Duwilt, Lise Richards, Emily Cheevers, Micheal Dillistone, & Mirella Colagrande; Kim Cummings; Stephanie Ferguson & Teale Phelps Bondaroff; Linda Ferguson; Sharmarke Dubow; Don Evans

Healthy Lifestyles & Community Spaces Leadership Award- Melanie Mahlman Susan Simmons; Beth Turner & Graham Robertson; Karen Laharty, Pam Bell, Linda Nehra, Holly Sneddon; Erin Long; Gerald Harris

Sustainability & Lifelong Learning Leadership Award- Laurel Collins; Paul Latour; Bary Gray, Keith Jones, Jennifer Rowan, & Carol Carman; Frances Litman; Shellie Gudgeon; Leslie Campbell

Child & Youth Quality of Life Leadership Award- Rebecca Kirstein; Tracy Kendrick, Lisa Hoskins, Adrienne Elise, & Susie Jones; Renee Sala; Taylor Mahovlich, Lajah Warren, Markus Meye, Kiera Tomaly, Christine Camaso, & Emily Rasmussen; Troy Wilson; Kelly Tisley

Check out more about our 2017 VCLA winners below!


Katrina Duwilt spearheaded the creation of the Esquimalt Farmers' Market.  The 5 members of the board lead a year-long event with monthly indoor markets in the winter and weekly outdoor markets in the summer

Sponsored by Vancity


 Kim cares about good food just as much as she cares about access to good food.  As the program coordinator at the Shelbourne Community Kitchen, Kim accomplishes her passion for food security and access to food.

Sponsored by Vancity


In collaboration with the Victoria Placemaking Network, Stephanie and Teale completed their mission.  Harnessing the power of social media, the pair connected with key stakeholders to effectively map out the little free libraries.  These libraries are a part of a shared and growing economy to build a resilient and sustainable community.

Sponsored by Vancity


Following a trip to Vancouver, Linda left inspired by the Shoebox Project, a project that consists of filling and wrapping up a shoebox with items for a woman living in a shelter.  Linda started the Shoebox Project here in Victoria where the initiative attracted volunteers to fill and distribute shoeboxes of items and gifts for women in shelters at Christmas.

Sponsored by Vancity


Having lived in refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt, Sharmarke realized there was little to no action toward raising awareness in Victoria for World Refuge Day.  With the help of the Greater Victoria Public Library, Sharmarke successfully began raising awareness in the community and he is currently involved with several organizations and boards pertaining to immigrants and refugees.

Sponsored by Vancity


In his five years as Executive Director of Our Place Society, Don Evans has increased its residence and program capacities, made meaningful connections with community organizations and governments,  and  given it a positive reputation once more.  Collaboration with the community at large has given Our Place the resources to contribute help and support with ongoing situations such as Tent City and the current drug crisis.

Sponsored by Vancity


Melanie Mahlman transformed the leadership of Victoria Hospitals Foundation with her vision and drive to uphold the high-quality of care that Island Health was known for.  In 2013, the VHF was named as a top-10 charity in B.C., and in 2016, was identified as one of Canada's top-10 corporate cultures.

Sponsored by BC Transit 


When Susan Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at age 30, her doctor told her to avoid exercise.  In her 40s, Susan decided to begin a swimming program to restore her health, her confidence, and her life.  Swimming from Port Angeles to Victoria is a way to push her limits and raise awareness about MS and the needs of the people who live with it.

Sponsored by BC Transit


Karen Laharty, Pam Bell, Linda Nehra, Holly Sneddon, Westshore Sooke Parent Education - Faced with a dire need for mental health support for Westshore and Sooke families, four moms got together and decided to organized the Westshore Sooke Parent Education Group's monthly mental health workshops series. The workshops are led by mental health experts.


The Mistletoe Project began in Erin Long's own home, a simple holiday event where friends brought food to share as well as donations for the Mustard Seed Church.  Following Donald Peterson' advice, Erin turned the gathering into an annual gala that supported a different organization each year, which has included Big Brother Big Sisters, MS Society and the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Sponsored by BC Transit 


Since 2011, Beth and Graham have been organizing the Cycle of Life Tour to raise awareness about hospice care as well as raise funds for Victoria Hospice.  Hospice is an important service that was not being recognized in Victoria prior to the Cycle of Life Tour.  With Turner and Robertson's leadership, the Cycle of Life Tour is a legacy that continues today in the hands of the Victoria.

Sponsored by BC Transit.


In his 4-year career, Gerald worked with fisheries and the environment.  He also taught for the visually impaired and deaf-blind persons.  Upon retirement, Gerald made a difference as a community leader in several habitat restorations and public green space projects throughout the Victoria region, most notably in the Bowker Creek watershed.

Sponsored by BC Transit


Unless we are involved in municipal finances, we know very little about where our local funds are invested.  Laurel Collins knows that some of it are in funds that support the fossil fuel industry and she wants to change that.  Laurel was contacted by councillors of the City of Victoria after she the question of divestment.  Divest Victoria was organized and gained traction across other B.C. towns to put pressure on the Municipal Financial Authority to provide fossil fuel-free investment funds for municipalities.

Sponsored by Royal Roads University


In 2015, Bary, Keith, Jennifer and Carol, the organization team members, put together the Greater Victoria Literacy Initiative after consulting with various literacy groups in Victoria.  The long-term project brings people together for a more integrated literacy strategy in the region.  Bringing together these organizations under the leadership of the organizing team members has already forged new relationships, raised awareness, and contributed to the development of an integrate literacy strategy for the benefit of all Greater Victoria.

Sponsored by Royal Roads University 


 From a reporter at the Times Colonist to a political candidate in the last federal election, Frances Litman has been involved in the region's community life for a long time.  Her flagship project, called Creatively United for the Planet, is an active year-long event that seeks to raise awareness about environmental and social justice issues from the grassroots.

Sponsored by Royal Roads University


Shellie Gudgeon credits her experience in the hospitality industry for her ability to bring people together and find common round.  She helped facilitate the creation of Begbie Park, but it was the neighbourhood who made it happen.  Meaningful community building is messy.  It takes patience, time and understanding, yet it is long-lasting.

Sponsored by Royal Roads University


Thirty years ago, Leslie and David created FOCUS on WOMEN as space where local women could tell their stories and empower themselves and the community.  In 2004, the magazine became FOCUS and began telling other stories too:  local politics, the environment, and the arts.  FOCUS has always differentiated itself by its long-form investigative journalism.  To understand a complex issue, readers need a long, complex story that not only delivers facts in context but also provides an avenue for change.

Sponsored by Royal Roads University


When Rebecca saw renowned educator Sir Ken Robinson eight years ago at a conference in New York, her thoughts about education changed.  She realized what did not work for her and how she might make a shift for the better for today's youth.  Rebecca figures she could bring Sir Robinson's message to Victoria by organizing Summit at the Pier, an event to spur creative thinking, leadership and collaboration in high school-aged youth and as a catalyst for stronger communities.

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings


Since 2009, Tracy and the Books for Babies team at the Greater Victoria Public Library have distributed thousands of bags to new parents, filled with books, music and everything they need to know to give their kids a good start in literacy.  With the help of Island Health and neighbourhood outreach, the program gives about 2,000 a year. 

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings


As a teenager, Renee already knew she loved working with kids and art.  After graduating from Camosun College Renee began applying for grants and working with local schools, on large-scale projects that would involve everyone:  kids, staff, teachers and parents.  Renee loves to talk to the children about real issues such as the environment and showing them how to express their ideas about the topics visually.

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings


After a survey of high school students in the Westshore-Sooke District revealed that 40% of the students didn't have a primary care doctor, Jen Harrison was given the responsibility to plan and open a health clinic in each of the three high schools.  She connected with six youth leaders: Taylor, Lajah, Markus, Kiera, Christine and Emily, who over the summer help guide and inform the services that would be offered at each clinic.

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings


Troy Wilson knows that a haircut can improve a child's self-esteem and this is the reason he started his non-profit No Child Left Uncut.  Through his business, Status Barber Shop, Wilson provides free or discounted haircuts for any child who needs one.  Clients can contribute as well by donating to a pooling fund for these haircuts, or by donating clothing and school supplies that are distributed to local families.  Troy also contributes to local cancer fundraising drives by providing haircuts, supplies and tools for those who want to cut or shave their hair for cancer.

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings


Kelly Tilsley is an alumnus of the Leadership Victoria program and current chair of Victoria's "Walk so Kids Can Talk", a benefit for Kid's Help Phone.  Kelley volunteered often with the Kid's Help Phone and was offer the chair position in 2012 after the previous chair fell ill.  When he took over, the event was on the verge of being cancelled due to a lack of participation.  In 2016, the benefit raised $21,000 with the help of hundreds of participants and sponsors.  Tilsley and his team of volunteers also raise awareness about Kid's Help Phone at several events during the year including Teen Fest, Fern Fest, and  Food Truck Fridays.

Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings



BC Transit

Royal Roads University

Coast Capital Savings

VCLA 2015-2017 winners: Projects


Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Leadership- Judith Armstrong & Nick Marsden

The UVic Award for Community Leadership- Frank Low

Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria Award for Community Leadership- Deborah Antonsen

United Way Greater Victoria Award for Community Collaboration & Partnership- Ready to Rent BC

Victoria Foundation Award for Children and Youth Leadership- Artemis Place Society

Vancity Savings Credit Union Award for Social Innovation- Amanda Evans

Coast Capital Award for Children & Youth Leadership- Jordan Perrault

Royal Roads University Award for Leadership Excellence through Coaching & Mentoring- Lily Seto

Leadership Award for Accomplished Alumni- Erika Ladoucer

Check out more about our winners below!


Judith and Nick have dedicated over forty years to Operation Trackshoes while working together with hundreds of volunteers. Judith volunteered with the Special Olympics at the provincial, national, and international levels. In parallel with her volunteering, Judith was the founder and executive director of the Handicapped Recreation Society from 1975 to 1989. Nick has acted as meet director and chief administrative officer for Operation Trackshoes. Prior to this position, he taught mathematics at Camosun College for 42 years. Nick is credited as a catalyst for bringing together the hundreds of volunteers that make Operation Trackshoes so successful.


For twenty years, Frank Low has volunteered his time and committed his support to strengthen the connections between UVIC and the community of Victoria. Frank has influenced students and demonstrated the value of community service as part of a successful business career. He is an ambassador for UVIC, encouraging local businesses to participate in co-operative education and other on-campus programs.  community in healing from, resisting, and preventing violence.


Deborah is the Administrator the James Bay Beacon newspaper and has since increased the number of pages from 12 to 28 and grew the volunteer writing sector to 40 people. The power of a community newspaper lies in its ability to reflect the concerns and values of the people it serves. Deborah is committed to fairness, integrity, and ethical journalism.


Ready to Rent BC has a vision of community well-being through housing education and support. It seeks to help learners (both families and individuals) find ways to break the cycle of chronic homelessness and achieve stability in all aspects of family life. Ready to Rent BC has been a demonstration of collaboration in action. From program delivery through partnerships to a team-based staff structure, Ready to Rent BC is a prime example of distributed community leadership.


Jordan was the Youth Community Animator for the Youth in Action Neighborhood Engagement Initiative, which is a special partnership between the United Way and Coast Capital Savings. The Youth in Action initiative empowered 23 youth aged 15 to 24 in the Hillside-Quadra and Esquimalt regions to create and develop neighborhood enhancing projects that are for the youth by the youth.


Artemis Place Society has been delivering educational, life skills, counseling and childcare services to young women and teen mothers in the Capital Region for over forty years. The Artemis program provides a nurturing community where students’ social and emotional needs are supported along with their academic goals.


As the leader of Greater Victoria Green Team, Amanda has engaged over 900 volunteers to remove invasive species and pick up garbage along Greater Victoria’s shorelines. This work involved collaborating with 42 local organizations and managing thousands of hours of volunteer work. Friendly and engaged, she also makes sure that every volunteer feels welcome at every activity she organizes, fostering a strong sense of community around the work of restoring our ecological systems.


Lily is the current Coaching Strategist for the Talent Management branch of BC’s Public Service Agency and is responsible for developing coaching standards and training management as coaches for their employers. Lily is dedicated to bringing a coaching culture to all branches of government in the province of BC. Lily is constantly learning, adjusting and adapting to her own coaching approach through formal studies, self-reflection and peer groups.


As the Director of Youth Programs for VI Paddling, Erika ensures that people can enjoy the wonderful waterways and shoreline of Vancouver Island. She has successfully organized community events and mobilized volunteers to participate in other leadership opportunities. She trains and manages volunteer coaches to become role models and leaders of the youth paddlers at VI Paddling. Her leadership by example inspires youth and adults to promote health and fun around Victoria’s waterways.


The University of Victoria 

Royal Roads University

Coast Capital Savings 

United Way of Greater Victoria


The Victoria Foundation

Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria

VCLA 2015-2017 winners: Projects


Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Leadership- Clarence (Butch) Dick

United Way Greater Victoria Award for Community Collaboration & Partnership- Maureen Sawa

UVic Award for Community Leadership- Bill Anderson, Bruce Parisian

Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria Award for Community Service- Kelly Reid, Scott Treble

Victoria Foundation Award for Community Capacity & Change- Pacific Housing Advisory Association

Coast Capital Award for Children & Youth Leadership- Alex Harned

Royal Roads University Award for Leadership Excellence through Coaching & Mentoring- Ingrid Bergmann

Leadership Victoria Award for Accomplished Alumni- Maja Tait


Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Leadership

Clarence is a Songhees First Nation elder and is an inspiring local visionary trained in fine art. He plays a pivotal role in youth empowerment and whose tireless commitment to creatively championing the Songhees carving style has touched every generation. Clarence believes intrinsically in leading by example and so he helped laugh the Songhees Recreation and Wellness Centre in 2013. He designed and created the Signs of Lekwungen Interpretive Walkway along the inner harbour


United Way Greater Victoria Achievement Award for Community Collaboration & Partnership

Maureen Sawa is an award-winning librarian and the CEO of the Greater Victoria Public Library. Maureen is known for her collaborative approach to library service and community development. She developed Hamilton Public Library’s spectacular Central Library renovation project, an innovative partnership with the Hamilton Farmer’s Market.


UVic Award For Community Leadership

Bill Anderson brings over 38 years’ experience providing accounting and advisory services to a variety of organizations and businesses. Bill has been instrumental in linking UVIC with the community. He recruits volunteers from the business community for the Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs.


UVic Award for Community Leadership

Bruce is the Executive Director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and links UVIC and the Greater Victoria community to benefit the public. In particular, he has benefitted the urban Indigenous people of our community. He’s done so by partnering with UVIC on the President’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Education, the First People’s House project and an Aboriginal library.


Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria Award for Community Service

Kelly Reid has been Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Services at Island Health since 2010. During his 20+ years of service, Kelly has strengthened community services by collaboratively developing innovative evidence-based programs including housing, rehabilitation, and assertive community treatment.


Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria Award for Community Service

Staff Sergeant Scott Treble is a Saanich Police supervisor in the Community Engagement Division. His police leadership supports community-based programs and services such as School Liaison, Crime Prevention, Bike Section, Block Watch and Volunteers. Scott is a former RCMP officer and having graduated from the University of Regina. His community service leadership includes Big Brothers and Sisters.


Victoria Foundation Award for Community Capacity & Change

Pacifica Housing is a non-profit charitable organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families, persons with a disability and adults who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.


Coast Capital Award for Children & Youth Leadership

Alex is a lover of the community and a proponent of a resilient local economy. Alex was inspired to create a space where the community could gather to celebrate local food, art, music, and diversity. In early 2012, she undertook the talk of growing a farmer’s market in her community of Oaklands. Today, the Oakland Sunset Market supports over 100 vendors and showcases over 60 musicians. Alex is gregarious, passionate, and diligent in her commitment to the sustainability and quality of the Oaklands Market


Royal Roads University Award for Leadership Excellence through Coaching & Mentoring

Ingrid supports senior and emerging leaders in the public and private sector to make a positive impact with staff and colleagues as well as in their communities within BC. Ingrid contributed as a volunteer mentor/coach for BCHRMA, Leadership Victoria and as a distinguished alumnus. She is valued by the people and teams she coaches.


Leadership Victoria Award for Accomplished Alumni

Maja Tait graduated from the Leadership Victoria program in 2006. She actively volunteered in the community of Bragg Creek, Alberta with organizations like the Girl Guides of Canada, the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and the Sooke Harbourside Lions Club. Maja utilized her leadership development by advancing her career in property management and served as municipal councilor for the community of Sooke in 2008

VCLA 2015-2017 winners: Projects
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