Politician - Municipal Government

"My goal has always been to make a difference in my community. I was what people would describe as a social activist during my childhood and teen years. Being passive was never an option for me. Today, I am an elected member of my city council and my mandate is to be the voice of my community. This job’s responsibilities are diverse and you need to have an open mind because one minute you may be debating a $100-million budget issue and the next, you’re discussing the garbage collection schedule with a constituent."

Salary Range:

Will depend on numerous factors

The Tip

Empathy is your greatest asset. The ability to walk in the shoes of others and share their perspectives makes you a better decision maker and a better person.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Formulating research questions

  • Ability to critically analyze literature

  • Ability to develop and execute qualitative research

  • Ability to synthesize key themes from multiple sources

 

Contextual Knowledge
  • Knowledge of human behaviour

  • Understanding of context and values of audiences

  • Essential understanding of topics and themes as they relate to an audience

 

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Sensitivity to how communications is shaped by circumstances, authorship and intended audience

  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Apply written vocabulary to audience

Evidence-based Storytelling Skills
  • Ability to use research to develop an evidence-based story

  • Ability to generate story ideas

  • Ability to identify target audiences

  • Ability to create compelling narratives across media

 

Additional Skills
  • Excel in defined core transferable skills with a focus on transdisciplinary systems thinking, adaptive thinking, communications and interpersonal skills

  • Contextual knowledge of public policy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (English) with minors in Policy Studies and Speech

  • M.B.A. paid for by my organization.

 

"Politics is a unique context that requires a wide breadth of knowledge and ability to really connect and empathize with your constituents. My combination of my major in English and minors in Policy Studies and Speech were foundational for my career."

Employment Experiences:
  • Completed internship for a small local environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO)

  • Worked in a policy and communications role for the ENGO following graduation; ENGO funded my M.B.A.

  • Ran for city council while in university and lost. Ran again eight years after graduation and was elected to my first term

 

"I have always been a very visible social activist. My ENGO paid for me to complete my M.B.A. part time and I worked in my communications role. I want to make a difference, but I recognized I had a lot to learn and had to be patient. Being a politician is not glamorous and it’s not about getting rich. Rathe rather it involves many dinners, BBQs and speeches. The pay-off for me is impacting the people who put their trust in me."

Community Experiences:
  • Active in student government since age 12

  • Began volunteering for a variety of ENGOs since high school

  • Maintaining a reflective journal

  • Chaired fundraising campaign for a community environmental organization

 

"It’s a cliché, but follow your passion, but do it with focus and structure. Since I was 15, I have committed to volunteering a minimum of three hours a week. When I was about 18, I started a journal to actively reflect on my learning from my experiences. I still maintain my journal and keep them all on a book shelf for inspiration."

 

Contextual Experiences:
  • My family are all social activists. Both of my parents are far left-wing politically and this affected the household I grew up in. Each ran for elected office over and over and there were few weekends growing up that didn’t involve marching or protesting issues. For me, this was simply the norm.

 

"People tell me I was born to be a politician. This is true. Dinner time at our house often involved debating public policy and social change. To say my activist mentality was inherited is an understatement. I believe, like my parents, that we have a duty to civic engagement and should all make a measurable difference in our community."

Relationships:
  • Parents are my inspiration

  • Activist friends from my time volunteering and studying

  • Had professional mentor in first job out of university

 

"My road as a social activist has been inspired by the people in my life. My family defined my values in community and those around me at school and volunteering gave me the guidance and confidence to make a difference."