Sara Casselman is a perfect example of how many of our categories cross over each other. Sometimes this makes it very difficult to choose what category is most suited to an individual. Sara was nominated and selected as a recipient in the Professional category; however, as you will read in her spotlight, Sara could have easily been part of the community service or group category as well!
Year you were nominated: 2013
Category in which you were nominated: Professional
Tell us about your work in the community that led to the nomination.
I’m the Public Relations & Operations Manager at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. A graduate of Laurier and Leadership Waterloo Region, I’m passionate about community-building and addressing systems which perpetuate inequalities and violence. I was genuinely touched to be nominated by some of my community partners for this award. It was completely unexpected. Driven by the belief that social change is possible, I’ve worked in the anti-violence against women sector for 13 years. I continue to be active on half a dozen local and provincial committees addressing gendered violence and have chaired the Sexual Assault Review Team of Waterloo Region since it began, in 2007. Committed to continued professional development, I’ve enrolled in the Senior Leadership and Management in the Not-for-profit Sector Program at Conestoga College this fall. I’m looking forward to learning from and networking with other community leaders in this program over the next two years!
Tell us about your experience as a nominee. What was your favourite part?
My favourite part of the experience was being among so many accomplished and passionate leaders in our community. I was surrounded by women committed to building each other up and it reminded me of my responsibility to build up the women I value in my professional and personal life.
Tell us about your experience at the award ceremony.
It was heart-warming to see a number of my colleagues, family members and friends at the ceremony. The President and former-President of my Board attended. My mother from out-of-town surprised me and got a glimpse into my world that night. It was a beautiful evening and something I’ll never forget.
Tell us about your reaction when you learned you were chosen as one of the Women of the Year? How did you feel?
I was unexpectedly emotional when I was chosen, but my favourite memory is of my partner in that moment. She clapped her hands together and jumped up when I won… and I think everyone thought she’d won. She was so excited. It still makes me smile thinking about it.
Following your experience, would you considered nominating someone for Women of the Year? Why or why not.
I would absolutely nominate someone for this award. In fact, earlier today, I wrote a letter of support for an amazing group of women being nominated this year!