YACC values our female leaders

YACC values our female leaders

At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses some of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and spark. This is Dawn’s reflection from this month’s meeting.

Over the past several months our board and committees have grown and changed at YACC, which has caused me to reflect on how truly great our governance volunteers are. They donate hours and hours of their precious time to help YACC carry out its mission “to support young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer. To be the connection to peers, bridge out of isolation and source of inspiration. Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got their back.” And boy, do they ever have YACC’s back behind the scenes!

We’ve had many amazing board and committee members who have gone above and beyond our expectations, but today I want to focus on the three current ladies: Val Pike, Lynn Zurel, and Deidre Ayre (aka Beep).

DID YOU KNOW that the percentage of company boards with women directors dropped to 31.3 per cent from 37.3 per cent in 2018? (Read more on osler.com)

Val Pike (Board member since 2002)

Anyone who knows Val knows what a special and amazing person she truly is. She makes a point to talk with our staff at YACC HQ and lets each one know how much they are appreciated. She attends as many YACC events as she can, and is well known by the YACCer network. She has a kind and generous soul that is hard to find. When I first met our newest board member, Robert Decker, he reminded me of Val. I knew even before he said it that she was a mentor to him; Val is a mentor to so many people. All of us at YACC truly love her and appreciate everything she does for us, from the last-minute emails and meeting with Geoff to coming by to sign a cheque and asking “how’s your mom doing?” Val has a way to always include everyone and to keep us on task in an eloquent manner. 

Lynn Zurel (Board member from 2015-2017, Finance Audit Committee member since 2018)

Then there’s Lynn. Lynn is an undoubtedly strong, smart, and kind person. Not only does she bring experience and expertise, but she has an amazing ability to think outside the box. I can tell when she’s pondering what has been said and love when she can come back and challenge something to get us thinking in a different way. Lynn helped us maneuver the way when YACC was on life support and during the tough times, and she’s also there now in the better times as we face new challenges.

Deirdre Ayre (Board member since 2017)

Beep is fairly new to YACC and our board, but her presence and commitment is bar none. Beep was barely on the board when she recruited some of her team members at Other Ocean to host a Shave for the Brave with a gaming twist to tie the two organizations together. Beep brings a new way of thinking and to doing things; it is no wonder that she won the Diversity Boss Award this year, an award which “is presented to a manager, human resources professional, or business owner from a small-to medium-sized business or corporation who strives for equality, diversity, and inclusion across all aspects of gender, ethnicity, ability, age, sexual orientation, and similar grounds.” Beep understands YACC and our underserved population, and is committed to closing that gap.

I have said before, “When I grow up I want to be a Val Pike.” Now it’s, “When I grow up, I want to be a combo of Val Pike, Lynn Zurel, and Deidre Ayre, three amazing women whom I respect and admire and am honoured to be able to report to.”

I hope that YACC and many other boards can have the privilege of having a “Val,” “Lynn,” and “Beep” on their team because we need more strong, resilient, nurturing, confident, and sensitive female board members in the mix.


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