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Over twenty years of diverse professional and personal experiences here and abroad

 

Kitchener brought me up. Thirty years ago, my courageous mom emigrated from Poland in search of a better life with my sister and I, risking all she had for a distant land where she knew no one. Thanks to her encouragement and my inherent drive and optimism, I aimed high. I was a downtown girl for the first five years of living here, involved in the life at St. Mary’s High School. To this day, I reflect dearly on the time spent there. It took two years to learn the language and spread my wings. I got involved. With the support of a great technology teacher, I triumphed in a Skills Canada national competition in architectural drafting.

My high academic performance and extra-curricular activities secured my admission to the coveted University of Waterloo Architecture programme, which I finished almost seven years later with the school’s first Master’s degree. My thesis focused on the response-able design of a mid-sized city core open space. By this time, I had also married and given birth to my two precious daughters: Julia and Ela.

After my first year of university, we moved into a brand new house on Bankside Drive, here in Ward 7. Through all the seasons, I made a daily 1 km hike to the bus stop to get to the university and then back. It was often uncomfortable due to weather, but then convenient and definitely worth it. The University of Waterloo co-op program allowed me to work not only locally but in Berlin, Warsaw and Toronto as well. As a class we also spent a term in historic Rome, learning and travelling throughout Italy.

My entire professional career has been related to community development. I started as an Intern Architect at a local architecture firm. After that I worked for the Region of Waterloo promoting good urban design, as the Region embarked on its intensification efforts and planning for light rail transit. During that time, I completed a study focused on visualizing densities, contributed to pedestrian-friendly and green street design and led initiatives that brought key partners to the table to discuss a greater variety of housing/building options.

The next seven years I dedicated to managing strategic projects for an even larger municipality in Europe, engaging partners, citizens and coordinating the work of over twenty stakeholder groups. I worked for and with municipal councils and higher levels of government. As these were international endeavours, I got to see and learn from the best in Europe and the world in the areas of community and infrastructure development, environment, leadership and marketing.

To get to where I am, I had to overcome many challenges: from being a new immigrantTogether strong.Together strong. to raising my daughters as a single mother. These experiences make me particularly sensitive to people’s struggles, well being, maintaining budgets and better equipped to represent diverse interests. I would not be here without the help of family, great mentors, programs and opportunities that were available to me. I want to make sure these continue and that the community is always there for each other, open and helpful.

Having learned to work hard, get up early and do my best to get somewhere, no matter what the struggle, I knew I was very fortunate. That’s why over the last twenty-five years, I have always believed in giving back. These are some of the organizations and initiatives I have been involved in and volunteered for:

Chaired Skills Canada competitions nationally, organized events for the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala and Women’s Leadership Committee, was a member of a housing co-op board of directors, presented news for a local cultural radio programme, coordinated a “gifts for the underprivileged programme”, sang in Sacred Heart Church choir, served as a community translator. I speak Polish and German fluently, started learning Spanish and French.

TLeading a group bike ride.Leading a group bike ride.oday, I am again living in Ward 7, having moved into a house in Forest Heights after living in Highland West. With my wonderful partner and our last two teenagers at home, I have been focusing on finding a balance between my work for a construction management company and our family. In the last three years, I was involved in the Boardwalk Neighbourhood Association and am still a member of the Resurrection CSS School Council and a career speaker for the Business & Education Partnership of WR.

Happy grandma.Happy grandma.

In my spare time, I love to hike and kayak, learn, meet people, take walks through the neighbourhood, bike for a cappuccino and spend time with my grandson whenever I get a chance.

With my versatile professional and life experiences, personal commitment and stamina, design sense and civic aptitude, I would be thrilled to listen and bring your ideas to fruition by serving you as a Kitchener Councillor.

 

 Community focused and efficient project manager, a mother and wife, designer, teacher, 
volunteer, believer and optimist. Most of all passionate relationship builder.