Brock University, Plaza Building 905-688-5550 ext 5928

Leader Spotlight – Stacia Heaton

Stacia Heaton - Brock University

Stacia Heaton – Skills Translation Coordinator  with Brock University

Stacia Heaton is a collaborative relationship-builder across Brock University and the community. She has influenced many different aspects of student life over her 11+ years at Brock University including mentoring students through Youth University, developing learning opportunities for the Faculty of Graduate Studies and in her current role as Skills Translation Coordinator for Co-op, Career and Experiential Education. Stacia enjoys creating fun and challenging experiences for students to practice and utilize their unique skill-sets and ability to translate them into future experiences. Stacia has completed her Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Masters of Education at Brock with a focus on constructivist learning and assessment.

How do you define community leadership?

Community leadership is the passion that one has towards making a difference in their own community. It is leading by example and making intentional choices that will create a positive impact in the place in which you live. [Community Leadership] is putting one’s own opinions and agenda aside and working collaboratively with others for the greater good.

“… leading by example and making intentional choices that will create a positive impact in the place in which you live.”

Why are you personally motivated to explore community leadership?

Building community has always been a big part of my life, whether it be at work, at home with my family or volunteering at my daughters’ school. I firmly believe that without building community first it is very difficult to move towards creating positive change in any situation.

Also, I have always been one to offer help when needed, taking a less passive approach to participating in community building events and initiatives. I know many influential leaders in the community and they inspire me to want to do better, to learn from them and start making a difference.

Further, I am eager to explore community leadership in a more active role and gain confidence as a community leader. Now that my children are older, I have the time to be more involved and want to lead by example. I want to show my girls how important it is to make a positive impact in their community and how to do just that.

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

The rapid changing landscape of education and the workforce is an important issue that I am very passionate about and currently researching. Having experienced higher education in many different facets, I understand the dichotomy between what students are gaining through their university experience and their ability to articulate it. With the advancement in technology and change in needed skills and competencies, youth are finding it more and more difficult to transition into the workforce and feel confident in the skills that have. As a community we are concerned with attracting and attaining youth in Niagara and employment is a leading factor.

How would you go about tackling this issue?

Current students do not understand how their education is teaching them the “core skills” that they need and in turn, they are unable to convey that information to potential employers (Conference Board of Canada study). Within my new position at Brock, I hope to bridge this gap through the collaboration of faculty, students and community employers to gain a better understanding of what is currently being offered and how best to create a common language around it. This will help better equip our youth entering the workforce feeling confident in their education and skills and in turn provide community employers with highly skilled and articulate employees.

Having worked at Brock for close to twelve years, I have a good institutional understanding of this challenge and would enjoy the opportunity to gain unique perspectives from others involved in Leadership Niagara and the Niagara community.

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

The type of leaders that I look up to and strive to be, are those with the ability to seek and understand the strengths and abilities of those around them. To leverage the skills and competencies of their team, to empower individuals to succeed and to encourage creativity and innovation. This involves having the confidence to try new things without the fear of failure or criticism and to learn from mistakes in order to grow and show resiliency.

“The type of leaders that I look up to and strive to be, are those with the ability to seek and understand the strengths and abilities of those around them. “

What individual attributes do you hope to develop or expand upon?

There are many attributes that I have gained in various leadership roles, however, I feel that I until recently have not had the opportunity to further develop and put into practice. In my experiences at both Brock University and White Oaks Resort and Spa, I had the freedom to express both creativity and innovation through my roles and had the opportunity to mentor and inspire others to recognize their unique qualities and skills.

Also, as I tend to be more of a silent leader, I am hoping through the participation of Leadership Niagara I can continue to develop these attributes and learn how to become more intentional with my leadership style. Working with others in the community I hope to continue to develop and demonstrate confidence in my communication and decision making.

April 30th, 2019