Campaign School

2014 Women’s Campaign School

This year instead of a full Women’s Campaign School we will be holding a series of shorter events throughout the year leading up to the November municipal election. Please check our website regularly to get the latest updates on our upcoming events.

2013 Women’s Campaign School

Friday November 29 (evening)
Saturday November 30 (all day)
SFU Surrey Campus

Download the program (PDF, 1MB).

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The Women’s Campaign School (WCS) is the longest-running campaign school of its kind in Canada. The speakers are veteran elected officials and campaign organizers from all parties, coming together at this non-partisan event to share practical skills and first-hand experiences working in our political system.

If you want to be a candidate, run a campaign, or just be more knowledgeable about this process, attend the WCS. Over 450 students have benefited from participating in the event since 1999.

The Art & Science of a Political Campaign

Friday Reception

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
SFU Surrey Campus in the Mezzanine

Welcoming remarks by Trina Isakson, Chair, Canadian Women Voters Congress, Dr. Jen Marchbank, WCS Co-Sponsor and Associate Professor, Dept of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and Explorations in Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University, and Barinder Rasode, Councillor, City of Surrey.

The Art & Science of a Campaign

Saturday November 30
8:30 am – 6:00 pm
SFU Surrey Campus SUR 2740

Registration and Coffee
8:30 am – 9:00 am

Opening of the 2013 Women’s Campaign School
9:00 am – 9:30 am
Keynote Address and Opening of 2013 Women’s Campaign School
Hon. Shirley Bond, Keynote Speaker
Adriane Carr, co-chair
Hon. Linda Reid, co-chair

Session 1
9:30 am – 10:45 am
The science of a campaign

Every campaign comes with a to-do list. There are both legislated tasks and political tasks to be completed. Learn about key campaign positions and the corresponding responsibilities. Find out how you can build your best team.
Raj Sihota, moderator
Hon. Kerry Lynne Findlay, Kimanda Jarzebiak, Tania Jarzebiak

Session 2
10:45 am – 12:00 noon
The details behind the dollars

Certainly campaigns have been run on shoestring budgets, but if you’re going to fundraise, you need to know the rules before you begin. Learn about municipal and provincial financial reporting requirements including any changes expected. This session is about form and function.
Trina Isakson, moderator
Louise Sawdon, Lisa Spitale

Session 3
12:00 noon – 1:30 pm (a working lunch session)
The art of the ask

There are many ways to ask for money, and your style will affect your ask. Learn how to be an effective fundraiser, whether you are new to politics or a veteran; rural, suburban or urban. This is a skill that can be taught and you will learn how to find—and keep–donors.
Wendy Yuan, moderator
Adriane Carr, Hon. Linda Reid

Session 4
1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
The engagement process

Engaging the community and connecting with voters doesn’t necessarily translate into votes. Winning campaigns excel at getting confirmed voters out to vote. Learn how to identify and attract supporters and then ensure they cast their ballots.
Erin Rennie, moderator
Lynda Gerty, Sue Hammell, Jane Thornthwaite

Session 5
3:00 pm – 4:15 pm
The message and the method

Candidates will have a lot to say—how they say it will speak volumes. Define your position and the position of your campaign to draw in voters. Learn to identify key messages and then select the best method for delivery. Find out what communication techniques are available including high, medium and low-resource options.
Susan Lockhart, moderator
Rikia Saddy, Kate Van Meer-Mass 

Session 6
4:15 pm – 5:30pm
The reasons why democracy needs women

Being part of a campaign, as a candidate or a manager, is a first step; winning or losing isn’t the last. Women belong in politics, in front and behind the scenes. Women bring unique style and perspective to politics, resulting in significant contributions to democracy, and there is much work to do. Hear from four women who are making individual and indelible marks on the Canadian political landscape.
Trina Isakson, moderator
Adriane Carr, Hon. Mobina Jaffer, Hon. Linda Reid, Wai Young

Graduation Ceremony and Group Photograph
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Adriane Carr and Hon. Linda Reid

We reserve the right to change speakers without notice.

Co-Chair Biographies 

Adriane Carr, Councillor, City of Vancouver

Adriane was elected to Vancouver City Council in 2011. She earned a Master’s degree in urban geography from UBC then taught at Langara College including chairing the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Adriane co-founded the BC Green Party in 1983, and the Green Party of Vancouver the following year. Under her leadership the party garnered one of the highest levels of voter support of any Green Party in the world. She currently co-chairs the Canadian Women Voters Congress’ non-partisan Women’s Campaign School.

Hon. Linda Reid, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, MLA, Richmond East

Linda was elected MLA in 1991 and continuously since, becoming the longest-serving MLA in the current parliament. Elected as Speaker in June 2013, Linda offers a balanced perspective across multiple portfolios from her experience both as a Member of Government and as an Opposition Member. Linda was the Minister responsible for Early Childhood Development and for Childcare from 2001 to 2009. She is recipient of three commemorative medals, and  was elected Vice-Chair of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

Board Biographies

Trina Isakson, Chair

Trina is an educator, strategist, and researcher in areas related to social innovation and community engagement. In addition to her consulting work with clients such as HRSDC, Simon Fraser University (SFU), and Volunteer Canada, Trina is an instructor at SFU, the University of Victoria, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She is currently writing a book on introverts and social innovation. In her spare time you’ll find Trina travelling, playing trivia, or cycling around Vancouver.

Dr. Susan Jean Lockhart, Vice-Chair

Susan is Director of Child and Youth for the Fraser Health Authority in B.C. As a result of her keen interest in the promotion and support of women in government, she conducted her doctoral research of the barriers and motivators experienced by women elected to the B.C. Legislature in completion of her PhD in Public Policy and Administration. Most recently, Susan was elected Vice Chair to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Women Voter’s Congress.

Erin Rennie, Secretary-Treasurer

Erin has worked as a political aide since 2008. She has supported MLAs and Provincial Cabinet Ministers in their work assisting them with speech writing, debate preparation, and policy research. For two-and-a-half years, she served as Constituency Assistant to MLA Naomi Yamamoto. Erin is passionate about politics, gender equality, and sustainability. Erin is currently completing her Masters in Urban Planning at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.

Raj Sihota, Board Member

Raj works with political parties, post-conflict governance structures, NGO’s and Indigenous peoples; engaging in government relations, staff training, stakeholder relations, strategic communications and issue campaigns. Her current work is in post-conflict Libya. In BC, she is passionate about moving forward relations with First Nations. A veteran of many local, provincial and federal campaigns, Raj has also been a candidate herself. She shares her experience to help empower more women to engage in the political process in Canada and elsewhere.

Wendy Yuan, Board Member

Wendy is a successful business entrepreneur. Nominated for 40 under 40 by Business in Vancouver, her company Bradley Pacific was also nominated for the BC Export Award as one of top 25 companies. In 2012, Wendy was nominated for BC New-Canadian Entrepreneur Awards by Ethno Business Council of BC, and voted in as one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants in 2009. Wendy ran as a candidate in both the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. With a deep appreciation of Canadian multicultural society, Wendy works to build an equal and just society for everyone.

Speaker Biographies

Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour and MLA Prince George-Valemount

Shirley was elected in 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2013 as MLA. As Minister, she leads the acceleration of the BC Jobs Plan, and works closely with Destination BC. Shirley has more than 12 years of Cabinet experience. Currently, she is Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Strong Economy, and is also part of the Treasury Board, the Priorities and Planning Committee, and the Legislative Review Committee. She lives in Prince George with her husband of 30 years.

Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, MP, Delta-Richmond East

Kerry-Lynne was first elected to the House of Commons in 2011. Appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice in 2011 and Associate Minister of National Defence in 2013, Minister Findlay was appointed Minister of National Revenue on July 15, 2013. Prior to politics, she practiced law. Her public service includes working on fisheries and First Nations land management issues, being a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and being the founding Chair of the BC Women Lawyers Forum.

Lynda Gerty, Director of Engagement, Vantage Point

Lynda Gerty is a sought-after speaker and facilitator with a track record of leading teams to outstanding results. In 2011, Lynda acted as the co-campaign manager of Nathan Cullen’s campaign for the leadership of Canada’s New Democratic Party, which resulted in Nathan’s third place finish and subsequent appointment as House Leader of the Official Opposition. Today, Lynda works to inspire and build leadership in the not-for-profit sector as the Director of Engagement at Vantage Point.

Sue Hammell, MLA, Surrey–Green Timbers

Sue currently serves as the critic for Mental Health and Addictions and the Deputy House Leader. From 2005-2009, Sue served as the Assistant Deputy Speaker of the Legislature. During her time in government, Sue served in a number of cabinet positions including Minister of Housing, Recreation and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Co-operatives, and the Minister for Women’s Equality. She was Government Caucus Chair and was active on several legislative committees. She is a founding member of the Minerva Foundation.

Hon. Mobina Jaffer, Senator for British Columbia, Senate of Canada

Mobina chairs the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. Appointed to the Senate in 2001, she is the first Muslim senator, African-born senator, and senator of South Asian descent. Mobina also sits as a member of the Senate’s Anti-terrorism and Legal and Constitutional Affairs committees. She recently chaired a Senate study on the sexual exploitation of children in Canada. As a grandmother, women’s and children’s rights are central to her advocacy to engage communities to protect human rights, celebrate Canada’s diversity, and promote progress.

Kimanda Jarzebiak, President, Ascent Public Affairs

Kimanda has been a communications and public policy consultant for 20 years. She has volunteered as a campaign manager in eight elections, and has served on the boards of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Minerva Foundation for BC Women. She is currently the Chair of the Boulders Climbing Gym, and the Vice-President of Sport Climbing BC. She believes that politics and climbing have a lot in common, not the least of which is managing subjective hazards.

Tania Jarzebiak, Legislative Coordinator, Canadian Union of Public Employees

Tania has been a campaign organizer since 1996, working on municipal, provincial and federal campaigns and currently serves as the Treasurer of the federal NDP. Tania’s most recent campaign experience was as Campaign Manager for Coquitlam-Maillardville BC NDP candidate Selina Robinson in the May 2013 provincial election. She joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees as a staff member in 2007 and currently serves as their Legislative Coordinator in BC.

Dr. Jen Marchbank, WCS Co-Sponsor, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University

Jen has been a community activist in some form since her teens both in the UK and in Canada. She currently co-facilitates (with her wife) Youth OUTreach, an advocacy and outreach group of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. She has also recently stepped down from two terms as President of the Surrey Pride Society. She is an academic at SFU teaching social sciences and gender studies.

Barinder Rasode, Councillor, City of Surrey

Barinder strives to find and implement better ways to include citizens in the City’s decision-making process, helping ensure more residents are engaged in a meaningful and effective way with the City. She places particular focus, as a City of Surrey Councillor, on the issue of domestic violence. Her commitment to helping promote the wellbeing of families continues as she looks forward to an exciting, healthy, and sustainable future for Surrey.

Rikia Saddy, Principal, Rikia Saddy Strategy

Rikia is a leader who helps companies and individuals define an authentic market positioning based on their history, inherent strengths and the hopes and aspirations of their target audience. Known for aligning companies to achieve exponential growth, Rikia is also very active in Canadian politics at the Federal, Provincial and Civic level. A graduate of the 2005 campaign school, Rikia is passionate about the role of Canada in the world, and author of a book on Canadian History ( .

Louise Sawdon, Manager, Electoral Finance, Elections BC

Since 1996, Louise has provided professional and expert electoral finance guidance to registered political parties, constituency associations, third party advertisers, and candidates through five provincial general elections and 10 by-elections. Louise is responsible for ensuring compliance with the campaign finance provisions of British Columbia’s Election Act (1996). Thanks to Louise’s management, the Electoral Finance team has constantly been recognized for providing outstanding service to clients and financial agents.

Lisa Spitale, Chief Administrative Officer, City of New Westminster

Lisa is a registered professional planner, working with the City for over 20 years. Lisa has held several senior management positions at the City including Director of Strategic Services and Director of Development Services managing three departments. Under her leadership, the City has realized unprecedented growth of over $600 million in development, and has helped spearhead many award-winning projects such as the Child Care Strategy, the Downtown Community Plan, and the Westminster Pier Park.

Jane Thornthwaite, MLA, North Vancouver-Seymour

Jane is a former school trustee and was first elected as the MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour in 2009. Jane is currently Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement to the Minister of Education, Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, and a member of several Select Standing and Cabinet Committees. Her top priorities are education, transportation, and building the economy. She truly believes that women bring a positive perspective to politics.

Kate Van Meer-Mass, Administrative Assistant to City of Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Kate has worked for the BC NDP and caucus for the last ten years. Beginning as a Constituency Assistant to David Chudnovsky, she then moved to Victoria and worked in Leader’s Office of Carole James. She has worked on many campaigns including managing David Eby’s by-election and more recent election win. Currently she works for Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan. Kate grew up in South Vancouver and enjoys playing baseball and soccer.

Wai Young, MP, Vancouver South

Wai was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver South in 2011, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association and Vice-Chair of the Government’s BC/Yukon Caucus. Prior to her election, Wai was a family worker, senior policy advisor, and consultant who developed social policies and programs across Canada. Highlights of her work include immigrant settlement programs, youth-at-risk initiatives, foster-parent training, and more. She is a mom of twins and seven foster children.

Message from the Chair, CWVC

Over the summer I had the pleasure of sitting in the gallery of the legislative chambers during Question Period. Looking around the chambers, I recognized many of the women MLAs as either graduates of or speakers at the Women’s Campaign School (WCS). Seeing the legacy of the WCS in action was a very powerful experience. I enjoy sneaking an imaginary peek into the future to see how this year’s graduates have led successful campaigns.

This year’s focus on campaign management is an important one. The world has an increasingly urgent need for effective leaders—all women should be encouraged to fulfill their potential and leave their mark. CWVC recognizes that not all women are interested in running for public elected office, but instead may be interested in helping others get elected. Others still are interested in running public awareness and advocacy campaigns. CWVC is committed to educating and inspiring women to actively participate in democracy in their communities, whichever aspect of democracy or community is important to them.

Through your participation, you are living our organization’s values of collaborative, non-partisan, engaged citizenship. Enjoy your time at the WCS and make use of the wealth of knowledge and connections in the room. After you leave, please re-engage with us to see how else you can help us achieve our vision of women’s equality of opportunity in the electoral process. We are thrilled to have you here.

Trina Isakson
Chair, Board of Directors