INTERESTING, INTIMATE, AND INFORMATIVE
OUR PATH FORWARD, Leading Boldly for a Diverse and Brighter Future, is a third-year initiative championed by the NWDLC in partnership with PowHERhouse Impact Media Group.
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - An interactive conversation with featured speakers will take place Saturday morning, April 15, 2023. The gathering will launch an innovative, inviting, and inclusive comprehensive engagement and preparatory program for women and non-binary people who are curious about exploring what a future in public-facing governance and political leadership could look like for them.
Doors open at 9:00am at the Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC. Coffee and a light breakfast buffet will be available. Event starts at 9:15am.
Now in its third year, this community-focused initiative is hosted by a diverse group of champions who have held public office, work in labour union leadership, and are considering public office. Watch the April 2nd, 2022 event recording below.
MEET OUR SPEAKERS | Political prep champions
Adrienne Smith is a transgender human rights activist and social justice lawyer. They recently argued a BC human rights case which clarified employers’ obligations to recognize correct pronouns for transgender and non-binary workers. Adrienne appeared at the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada where they argued about the deleterious effects of mandatory minimum sentences for women, indigenous people, and drug users. As a trade union activist, they advocate for transgender inclusion in our unions and workplaces. Adrienne is the litigation director at the Catherine White Holman Wellness Clinic where they give free legal advice, take on human rights cases, and notarize name and gender change documents for trans people.
They hold a double honours BA in English Literature and Geography (2000), a Masters in Human Geography (2005) and a Juris Doctor (2013) all from the University of British Columbia. They held a UBC undergraduate entrance scholarship for 4 years, and the Geography Alumni Award during their undergraduate degree. They received a University Graduate Fellowship and were named the Green College Scholar. They were called to the bar in British Columbia in 2014.
Adrienne is the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association BC Diversity Award; the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Branch Nancy Hall Public Policy Leadership Award; the Allard Law Alumni Achievement Award; the Vancouver and District Labour Council Syd Thompson award for Award for Community Service; and the BC Federation of Labour Joy Langan award for Social Justice.
President, BC Federation of Labour
Sussanne Skidmore was elected BCFED president in 2022 after being elected as the federation's secretary-treasurer in 2018 and 2020. A well-known human rights, social justice and queer rights activist, she served as executive vice-president of BCGEU for 5 years. She has co-chaired the BCFED’s Human Rights Committee and is active in the federation’s Women and Gender Rights Committee. Skidmore is the national treasurer for the New Democratic Party of Canada and a vice president of the BC NDP.
Councillor, City of Burnaby
Alison Gu is the youngest City Councillor elected in Burnaby’s history. Born and raised in Burnaby, she has fought tirelessly for more affordable housing, fair & equitable climate action and preparedness, and stronger traffic safety and transportation options. She is passionate about making politics more compassionate, kind, and caring.
In 2017, she cycled from Ottawa to Burnaby against the Trans Mountain pipeline and tank farm expansion because of the project’s safety risks, showing just how far she’ll go to fight for what’s best for Burnaby residents.
During her post-secondary education at McGill University, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science while working two part-time jobs as Environment Commissioner and Residence Assistant. She was awarded “Top 25 under 25 Environmentalist” in 2020 and speaks Mandarin and French. Alison’s experience shows that she can get the job done and work to make Burnaby a better place for everyone.
MLA Langley East
Megan Dykeman was elected MLA for Langley East in the 2020 provincial general election. She is the Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits to the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
Megan is deeply connected to her community of Langley, where she has worked as a small business owner and farmer, taken on many public service roles, and is raising her two children.
Before being elected to provincial office, she served as Chair of the Langley Board of Education. First elected in 2011, she served three terms as a trustee with the Board, working hard to make public education in Langley better for kids and families.
Megan holds a Master's in International Relations from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where her research focused on food security. In 2017, she completed a certificate in Negotiation and Leadership at Harvard Law School.
Megan served for six years as Community Chair of the Langley Agricultural and Economic Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Blueberry Cannon Taskforce. She has served as president of the Langley Farmers' Institute and the Parliamentarians Association of British Columbia. She is a founding "A" leader of 'Otter Flying Feathers' 4-H club, the first 4-H poultry club in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in over 25 years.
She lives on her specialty poultry farm in Langley with her two children and their farm's turkeys, geese, ducks, quail, chickens, and goats.
Trustee, Burnaby School Board
Mikelle is a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. She is also Secwepemc and Syilx, and was born and raised on her reserve at Tk’emlups te Secwepemc. She has been a federal public servant working in Indigenous relations for the past 13 years in the Western Region and Northern Territories and is a newly elected first term Trustee on the Burnaby Board of Education. Mikelle has been working in Indigenous relations at Transport Canada for the past 5 years. Mikelle is the co-chair of the Pacific Aboriginal Network (PAN), a network of Indigenous federal public servants representing 19 different departments and agencies in the Pacific Region. Mikelle is also the Transport Canada representative on the whole of government Indigenous Issues and Interests Committee working group, as well as a volunteer Indigenous awareness training facilitator.
Mikelle’s favourite and most important job, however, is cheering her three daughters on at the soccer field. She lives in Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish traditional territory.
Councillor, City of New Westminster
Ruby has spent the majority of her career working to improve public amenities, create community spaces and building strong community partnerships to ensure residents are engaged and welcomed.
She has significant experience in intergovernmental relations, community organizing and raising funds for the public and not for profit sector initiatives, including infrastructure development, healthcare, arts and culture, and many social inclusion programs.
Ruby has served on the boards of Arts Council of New Westminster, Massey Theatre, Fraserside Community Service and the New Westminster Police Board. She has also served on numerous other committees for organizations throughout the lower mainland.
Over her career, she has worked in various positions with BC Lung Association, Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, Simon Fraser University, the City of New Westminster and has consulted for numerous other organizations including Hyack Festival Association, Fraser River Discovery Centre and the Surrey Board of Trade.
Ruby lives in the Sapperton area of New Westminster with her husband, teenage daughter and dog, Coco.
We are absolutely thrilled to welcome participants to an intentional, informative, and interactive session.
Leading Boldly for a Diverse and Bright Future is a third-year initiative championed by the NWDLC in partnership with PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, with reGEN media as this year's event producer. It is an innovative, inviting, and inclusive comprehensive engagement and preparatory program for women and non-binary people who are curious about exploring what a future in public-facing governance and political leadership could look like for them.
Who do you know who should be in the room on April 15th? Please share this event information and invitation to gather with us!
Draft morning itinerary:
9:00 am Doors Open, coffee and light breakfast buffet available
9:15 am Welcome, land acknowledgment, and intention setting
9:30-10:10 am Mini-Keynotes - Political Champs
10:10-10:30 am Open time for coffee and networking
10:35-11:05 am Conversation-Starters - Political Panelists
Watch last year's virtual meet-up event:
Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer and April 15 Panel Champion
“The New Westminster & District Labour Council has been endorsing candidates for local government for more than 50 years, and we know the importance of preparedness in ensuring success. If we want our communities to be reflective of our best selves then we must also do the work to foster and support diverse leaders to meet their fullest potential.
We are excited to once again partner with PowHERhouse to present this growth and development opportunity specifically for women and gender diverse leaders.”
~ Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer
Janet Andrews is the full-time Secretary-Treasurer of the New Westminster & District Labour Council, which represents over 60,000 union members in fourteen municipalities in the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Janet is proud to be a part of a grass roots, local organization with a strong tradition of workers speaking out on issues affecting them in their workplaces and in their communities. A member of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union Local Lodge 764, Janet has served on her Local’s Executive Board, as both Women’s and Political Action Committee Chairperson, on Bargaining Committees and as Chief Steward of her bargaining unit.
Janet is currently serving as one of the labour representatives on the Metro Vancouver Regional Economic Prosperity Management Board and is on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. She has a BA in Classical Studies (UBC) and an MA in Classical Archaeology (UBC).