Jen Armstrong – Manager, Operations Projects and Transformation, Meridian Credit Union
I believe that the world needs more encouragers.
Positive and collaborative in my interactions with fellow financial services professionals. I am motivated by building long-term and trusting relationships, solving problems and introducing new ways into the old ways of banking. The strength of any organization lies in its people – and I create an open and authentic environment where individual strengths among my team are recognized and championed. When I am not at work, you can find me actively avoiding my running shoes by tending to my family, my garden or a recent selection from the library.
How do you define community leadership?
I believe that community leadership is the willingness to work collaboratively with a group of individuals to create meaningful change. While the individuals within the group may have different backgrounds and objectives – there is a willingness to come together in support of a common goal.
“I have seen the difference that a small, committed
group can make with defined objectives.”
Why are you personally motivated to explore community leadership?
As a long-term Niagara resident and a parent, I feel personally invested in this region. I am currently involved in supporting roles within my neighbourhood beautification and works committee as well as the parent council at my son’s school. I have seen the difference that a small, committed group can make with defined objectives. I have found that watching a successful initiative in action is rewarding and energizing. I am keen to expand my reach and participate in larger community initiatives with like-minded individuals.
What, in your view, is the most significant issue/opportunity facing our community? Why?
There are a number of key issues facing Niagara – however, the most significant in my opinion is ‘brain drain’ to the GTA / other metropolitan areas. We have a large number of students who graduate from Brock University or Niagara College – and would like to settle in this area – but are unable to find work that is appealing. Similarly, we have students who are born and raised in Niagara and seek post-secondary education elsewhere, who would be keen to return – but, are unable to find suitable opportunity.
How you would go about tackling the issue?
This issue is key as young people represent our future tax base and the sustainability of an area. We need to ensure that Niagara remains a desireable and affordable place to settle, build a family, and engage permanently.
A key component of attracting new industry/business to our area requires a commitment to improving transportation. I believe that GO Train service must be extended into Niagara and must operate in a timely and predictable way. I would encourage local government to continue pressing Queen’s Park for this extension of service.
In your view, what’s the most important attribute of a leader?
A leader must be able to rally others around an end goal or vision. A leader must have strong communication skills, be a trusted resource and commit to ensuring his/her team feels supported. I have learned that through my new role as a leader of people that putting the needs of the team and recognizing individual strengths are key to having a high performing team.
What individual attributes do you hope to develop or expand upon?
I would like to learn more about using persuasion, handling objections and creating alignment with competing agendas.