Leadership Victoria to host 10th annual leadership awards

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Leadership Victoria will play host to the 10th annual Victoria Leadership Awards (VLA) Feb. 26, 2014, at Crystal Gardens. The awards, which were established in 2004, are given to leaders that have benefited the Greater Victoria Community through their actions.

Leadership Victoria, a volunteer organization that runs the awards, was founded in 2000, and according to their website, their mission is, “To develop, support, and celebrate leaders who are passionately engaged in building a vibrant community.” Other than the awards, the organization runs leadership symposiums, targeted programming providing opportunities for community leaders, and a nine-month experiential-based learning program.

Kate Mansell, chair of the 2013 VLA Steering Committee, says that in the nine-month program, participants usually found a non-profit organization. “They form groups, then they brainstorm around the type of project they want to do. They’ve done a variety of things. They’ve done a garden, they’ve done a playground for a daycare, they’ve done a reading program with youth, and different things,” Mansell says. She says there are too many projects to name all that have being carried out throughout the program’s history.

Leadership Victoria began with Rotary members and the University of Victoria on its board and is governed by leaders in the community. “We were looking at doing something that identifies and honours and recognizes community leaders and inspires others to get out there and do it, you know, seeing the kinds of work that these people are doing. And it’s also a fundraiser for Leadership Victoria,” says Mansell. “So there were three goals essentially. It was to inspire others to leadership, to recognize those many, many, many people in our community—some of them, people don’t really get any sort of idea of what they’re doing except through recognition like this—and to raise money.”

The VLAs have evolved over the years. They now comprise eight award categories and have expanded from the three original groups on the board. Mansell says, “It was just the three partners, Leadership Victoria, the University of Victoria, and the Rotary Club of Harbourside, and now it embraces more of the Rotary Clubs in Greater Victoria. But also we’ve added two partners—the Victoria Foundation and the United Way of Greater Victoria, plus we added two named awards with Royal Roads University, and that’s for coaching and mentoring. The other award we had added earlier on in the evolution of the event was the Vancity Youth Award, and that was for youth between 20 and 30.”

The winners of the VLA are picked by a selection committee, which is made up of representatives from partners and the two named awards. The nominees, which for the 2014 Awards must be nominated by 4 p.m. Nov. 29, will be reviewed and compared on rating scales to assign them a point value. When a score is close or identical, Mansell says, there will be a lot of discussion about the areas a nominee is involved in and how much more one stands out over the other. Mansell says the awards benefit the recipients by recognizing what they’re doing. “And I think any time that you recognize someone for work well done, then it really reinforces that person’s resolve to continue being a force for change in the community.”

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