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Niagara College Community Employment Services 905-641-2252 ext 4663

ACL Leader in Focus – Shari Walsh

Shari is a passionate educator with over 12 years of experience in higher education, within two provinces, one state, and on a ship that circumnavigated the globe.

She holds a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University, a bachelor’s degree in History from Trent University and is trained in Clifton Strengths.

Shari is originally from Chippawa, Ontario and has had the opportunity to live in a number of other cities during her 17 years away from the Niagara region. She is a proud wife, step-mom, daughter, sister, and dog mom.

Her passions include leadership development, advocacy for individuals with disabilities, travel, and volunteering with animal rescue programs.

In your view, what’s the most important attribute of a leader?

One of the most important attributes of a leader is the ability to take action while maintaining a collaborative lens. A true leader is able to move projects and initiatives forward while maintaining the need to collaborate with others and respect the diverse community they are leading with and for. 

How do you define civic leadership?

Civic leadership is the opportunity to make a difference in the communities we participate in. This includes the developing of collaborative knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference. Civic leadership is rooted in the priority to promote quality of life in a community, taking into consideration all aspects of life, engagement, and growth. It is through role modeling and providing inspiration for change that a civic leader has the opportunity to enhance the community experience for all community members. 

Why are you personally motivated to explore civic leadership?

My personal motivation for civic leadership has many layers. As a higher education professional, I have the opportunity to contribute to and help develop civic leaders on our campus every day. Through my passion for community and positive community experience, I am focused on inspiring others to not only connect with their community but also to find was a way to leave a lasting impact. Alongside my professional affiliation to civic leadership, I have recently returned to the Niagara area after 17 years away. After having the opportunity to learn in other environments I feel privileged to have the opportunity to return to the region with these experiences and learnings, to contribute to a place I am so happy to call home once again. My pride for this region and my desire to have others see all that the region has to offer motivates me to continue to engage my personal civic leadership skills within the Niagara region.  

What, in your view, is the most significant issue/opportunity facing our community? Why?

As I have only returned to the region four months ago, it is challenging to highlight a significant issue within the community. It is my hope that as I continue to reset roots in the region that I am able to enhance my understanding of the current community experience, strengths and areas of development. From my brief time back, an area that I find myself discussing often with community members is the need to continually advance the community experience through community engagement opportunities, new employment pathways, and spaces to give back to the broader community. The Niagara region contains an incredible amount of unique opportunities that other areas do not have which provides us with the space to engage the population in contributing to the betterment of the region.  In turn, this multi-pronged engagement strategy will create space to retain the talent and experience of our citizens. It is through this retention that we will be able to advance our community engagement approach, strategy for talent acquisition in all sectors and build a provincially recognized Niagara region experience. 

November 4th, 2019