Niagara College Community Employment Services 905-641-2252 ext 4670

ACL Leader in Focus – Cortney Gusek

2019 Niagara Community Foundation Bursary Recipient

Cortney is a highly-motivated professional with over twelve years of experience in event management, fundraising, marketing, social media and administration. Her passion for planning and exceptional organizational skills have strengthened her role working with a variety of corporations, not-for-profit organizations and charities including her current position as Leadership Giving Officer at United Way Niagara. Her portfolio includes fundraisers, conferences, athletic events, trade shows, galas, film festivals, and more. She has a proven ability to plan, promote and execute successful programs and services and is a leader and team-player with strong communication and time management skills.

Her educational background includes an Event Management Graduate Degree from Niagara College, certifications in Marketing & Communication, Design Illustration and Leadership; as well as a Sociology and Child & Youth Studies, BA from Brock University. Cortney has volunteered on a number of committees and currently sits on the AFP/CAGP sub-committee as Chair for the 2020 Fundraising Conference.

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

A good leader must possess a number of skills in order to be effective but some of the best qualities that define a leader include open communication, being supportive and encouraging, being empathetic, leading by example and someone who inspires others. Leaders who are motivated, passionate and positive are likely to succeed.

How do you define civic leadership?

The primary goal of civic leadership is working to make a difference in our community. It is important to address the most critical needs of our society in order to determine what needs improvement and how we can grow as a community. A key factor in civic leadership is to build relationships with community members to help spread the word and generate awareness of the issues at hand. Effective civic leadership works to engage community members and enable them to create change in our society.

Why are you personally motivated to explore civic leadership?

Throughout my career and personal life, I have always had a passion to help others. I have always enjoyed working for not-for-profits and finding purpose in what I do. I am motivated to continue exploring civic leadership so I can become more involved in my community, network and build connections with fellow community members, and help improve the lives of people in our neighbourhoods.

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

In my opinion, the most significant issue facing our community is mental health. Issues surrounding mental health are highly prevalent and on the rise. Individuals suffering from mental illness frequently have co-existing problems such as homelessness, substance abuse or unemployment. Additionally, the presence of mental illness often leads to an increase in suicide. Addressing mental health is extremely important as it affects all walks of life from families to adults, to youth and children. Improving mental health in our community will help enhance the quality of life of our affected community members.

October 21st, 2019