Vital People: Leadership Victoria recognizes local leaders

Vital People: Leadership Victoria recognizes local leaders
WatchLocal leaders making a difference are being recognized by Leadership Victoria. Tess van Straaten reports in Vital People.

Steven Baileys dedicates his days to building community and connection.

“We’re always looking at ways to build bridges, connections to enhance understanding, collaboration, co-operation because we believe that together, our community is a lot stronger,” says Steven.

As the community development coordinator for Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, Steven helps migrants from foreign countries — and the Capital Regional District welcomes more than 2,500 people a year — get settled and feel like they belong.”Being a newcomer myself, even though it’s been a number of years, I love the feeling of making people feel welcome and come to our community and find a place where they can thrive and prosper and grow.”

It’s a job that’s been made all the more difficult by increased racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiments in North America — something the Inter-Cultural Association is working hard to address.

“On the one hand it is disheartening but what also is very encouraging is to see the way in which so many community members do step up.”

Steven’s passion for building belonging and engagement is the reason he’s one of this year’s recipients of a Leadership Victoria award.

“Stephen is such a fantastic community leader,” says Mark Crocker, the executive director of Leadership Victoria. “Anyone who has spent any time with Stephen knows just how he lights up a room, how he welcome people from so many different backgrounds.”

Sponsored by the Victoria Foundation, the 17th Annual Victoria Community Leadership Awards will recognize local leaders — of all walks of life — making a difference in our community.”We need to hear their stories, we need to understand what local leaders are doing in our community, how they’re changing things, and often these are the leaders behind the scenes — they’re the unsung heroes that make things happen,” Mark says.

For Steven, being recognized is a humbling and emotional experience.

“I think of the journey of my grandparents, my parents, and even myself and my siblings so it does make me very emotional because I can relate to it on a personal level,” Steven says.

He just hopes his story — and the stories of other leaders — will inspire people to work together to make a difference

“When we have a community that’s able to work together, to collaborate, we can achieve so much more,” Steven says.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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