Ten years ago, Svetlana Pavlenko immigrated to Edmonton from Novosibirsk, Siberia with little more than her suitcase, her vision and her values. She was drawn to Edmonton because the winter city is deep rooted with strong cultural diversity and opportunity for newcomers. Convinced she would succeed in her new home, Svetlana wasted no time to put her strong interpersonal skills to work.
Within a year, she achieved top sales at a local car dealership. Determined to use her energy, leadership and business skills to give back to the city, Svetlana joined the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts board. She provided strategic leadership in support of artists with developmental disabilities, helping to showcase their work on a world stage. Svetlana served seven years on the board and she continues to volunteer with this innovative organization.
Svetlana, with her colleague, developed the Transforming Acculturative Stress Into Success (TASIS) program for integration of educated immigrant women into Canadian society. She received a grant from the federal government for her work, which was presented at the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies’ international conference in 2010. The findings and developed methodology are now used by other social service agencies in North America.
In 2010, a RISE AWARD recognized Svetlana’s achievements in community outreach. This award, presented by the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, recognizes contributions that improve the lives of newcomers through community leadership, arts and culture. In 2015, she continued to be recognized when Avenue Magazine selected Svetlana as on of Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40 for her work "helping seniors of all nationalities and faiths live fuller and richer lives while also bringing the gap between generations".
That same year, Svetlana won the position of Executive Director at the Jewish Senior Citizen’s Centre. Though the organization has a long and impressive history, it needed fresh energy and direction.
Svetlana was tailor made for the role – she more than doubled the scope of its services and membership. Services are offered five days a week to over 450 members, uniting people from different cultural backgrounds. These services include educational speakers, mentorship, yoga and drop-in lunches that assist with cost recovery for the Centre. She feels that the Centre, a social agency, should be run like a business while maintaining its inclusiveness to all, supporting the not-for-profit sector that builds healthy communities.
Svetlana further developed her leadership, management and problem solving skills with more education. She received her MA in Leadership from the University of Guelph in 2015, arming her with more knowledge to strategically confront and solve organizational challenges.
Her determination to give back to her community is unquestioned; and now, Svetlana hopes to gain your support as the voice of Ward 5 in the Edmonton Municipal Election this October.
Svetlana Pavlenko; Vision. Values. Voice.
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