As part of our Candidate Q & A series, we interviewed Nancy McSloy, who is currently running for London City Councillor in ward 2.
Q: Would you share how you have participated in your community?
A: I have been a community activist in the Argyle area for over 30 years. I feel that if I want to see changes, I need to be part of those changes. Healthy, vibrant communities are important to me.
The past four years have been very exciting for me as I have thrived on all of the community endeavours that I have been involved with.
Some of the projects that I have initiated are the Argyle Business Improvement Association, Argyle Art-in-the-Park, Argyle Business Directory, Argyle Business 2 Business Networking Group, a Police Sub Station at Dundas St. and Third St., Argyle Environmental Study and Recycle Map, Cold Hands/Warm Hearts (mitten drive), and Argyle Businesses Beautiful.
I have also been involved with the initial planning of Breakfast with Santa, Hilton Halloween, Argyle Safety Audit, Ivey Impact Day with Staples, Building Bridges in Argyle and other community events. During the Electromotive strike, I often went out to the picket line to take meals to the striking workers.
I have been a part of Strengthening Argyle since day one. This is a part of the Strengthening Neighbourhoods London strategy. I am also an active member of East London Optimists, Trinity United Church and Community Centre, the Argyle Basic Needs Group and Argyle Community Association.
In 2012 I was nominated and received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for my community work. In 2013 I was nominated for Samara as an “Everyday Political Citizen”.
My passion is in creating opportunities for people to participate, build relationships and flourish in their work, life and play experiences and to help make our great community even better.
Q: What do you believe is the role is of a city councillor/mayor?
A: A City Councillor:
Q: In your opinion, what do you feel are essential qualities of a good leader?
A: A good leader:
Most importantly, if one can’t lead they should get out of the way.
This is a long and heavy list, but as a politician one is working for the people of their ward and strong leadership is imperative.
I have lived in Argyle for 31 years and have always been involved with the community, more so during the past four years.
I am married with three children and five grandchildren. My children attended F.D. Roosevelt Elementary School and Clarke Rd and Montcalm Secondary School. I spent several years as an active member of the F.D. Roosevelt Home and School Association.
Call me a G.I.F.T. (Grandparent Involved Full Time). When my oldest grandson was 18 months old I was awarded custody, and I started over as a parent. I found that there were few supports for grandparents raising grandchildren so I worked with Childreach to create a series of workshops to help other grandparents and started a support group. The workshops have been used in other centres and support groups evolved in other areas of the country.
I worked in the private sector for years; however my passion was in helping people. I went back to school and in 2010 I graduated as a Community Service Worker.
Since graduation I have been very involved with community initiatives. I started the Argyle Business Improvement Association and have been involved with the Strengthening Argyle project from the inception. In 2011 I felt that we needed an art festival in Kiwanis Park so in August 2012 we held our first annual Argyle Art-in-the-Park. Our third annual is set for August 23, 2014. I have been involved with the inception of other events such as Breakfast with Santa and more. I am an active member of East London Optimists and Trinity United Church.
In my spare time, I am a published freelance writer having been published in many local newspapers as well as national magazines such as McLean’s, Canada’s History, Vitality, and Flare as well as several books including Chicken Soup for the Soul.
On Saturday close to 40 Londoners come out to our first Women’s Municipal Campaign School at Goodwill Industries to learn about the ins and outs of running and volunteering in a Municipal campaign.
With the leadership of experienced City politicians Joni Baechler, Judy Bryant and Gina Barber, we heard about the importance of communicating your candidacy, the logistics of running a campaign, fundraising ideas, legal requirements and more.
Members of the media were also present to give tips on dealing with the press. Candidates also had the opportunity to participate in mock media interviews.
For me, it was especially wonderful to see many new faces in the room and a balanced representation of men and women. Many familiar faces of were present, but there were also fresh people who were interested in learning more about how to become involved in a municipal campaigns. The connecting and sharing between all of these participants was key to the event’s success.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the training was the opportunity to ask questions of the many women political leaders in the room. In London, we are fortunate to have a wealth of women politicians who are willing to share their time and experiences with other women.
Many campaign school participants commented on how helpful it was to be able to talk one-on-one with women who had been there and done that.
As a Women’s Campaign School looking at campaigning through a gendered lens, the realities of being a woman in politics came up frequently.
Many challenges were acknowledged and yet the best examples of how these can be overcome came from the many successful women politicians in the room. In their stories they exemplified how standing strong in your values, surrounding yourself with people who support you and not getting distracted by your detractors is key to succeeding. I know that their stories inspired many and served as an example of those who have paved the way for others.
The team at Women & Politics believes that when women support one another and work to amplify each other’s voices, we can change things for the better. We can stand behind one another, not because we always agree but because we believe that diverse women’s voices need to be heard.
Our Women’s Municipal Campaign School obviously didn’t solve all the barriers to women’s participation in politics, but we hope it was one small step towards helping women in succeed in our community.
After flipping through the headlines today, I was reminded of a lively debate at one of our last Women and Politics Mixers about a trend many of the women at our table were noticing, and reasonably troubled by.
Why is it that we only seem to see women appointed to C-suite (CEOs, COOs, CFOs etc…) executive positions, or to party leadership, when everything is about to crash and burn around them?
While we are just starting to see women take to the driver’s seat (you’ll appreciate this metaphor in just a minute) of some of the largest corporations in North America, it always seems to come on the heels of a drastic downfall; one that these rookie CEOs now have to take full accountability for.
As an automotive enthusiast I was through the moon three months ago to hear that Mary Barra had been appointed CEO of General Motors. She’s the first woman ever to head up a U.S automaker.
And now, she’s leading the cleanup on a disastrous safety failure and recall that has claimed 13 lives to date.
From a point of passion within the auto industry, I could talk at length about the recall itself. As someone who works in public relations I could talk at length about how GM is handling the crisis in the public’s eye. But as a woman what I really want to talk about is why we only get women CEOs when the ship is about to sink.
Do the Boards of these massive companies think that when they see a storm on the horizon, they can mitigate the damage by setting up a woman to take the fall? I can just imagine the narrative in their logic must read something like “If we put a woman in charge at the last minute, the public will only see a floundering female, failing at leadership, not our mistakes.”
The reality is it took the collective effort of every male CEO that preceded her to craft the mess she now sits in.
This blog post about putting women on the ‘glass cliff’ states it perfectly: “the corporations didn’t struggle because they put women in leadership roles. They put women in leadership roles because they were struggling.”
If all we ever get to see is examples of scandal and the results of prior mismanagement when women lead, it re-affirms to the world that women are not capable of being in the executive suite, in the boardroom, or in Parliament.
I by no means can stand by a company that knew about a safety defect and chose to do nothing about it. BUT. Mary. Girl. I want you to know that I’ve got your back. I’ll be standing over here watching you set this mess right, and prove that women in power can be more than corporate scapegoats.