The Power of Recognition: Spotlight on Emily Jubenvill
by Toby Barazzuol on Monday May 16, 2011
At Eclipse, we believe that recognition has the power to accelerate change in your community. It doesn’t matter if that community is your company or association, your neighbourhood, your city, or the very world that we live in. It’s important to recognize and celebrate the things that we value. Doing so helps to raise the profile of those who are recognized - building their confidence and opening up new opportunities for them to succeed.
To kick off our new feature called “The Power of Recognition: Spotlight on...” we’d like to share the story of one of our favorite people in Vancouver, Emily Jubenvill. Emily has emerged as a tireless grass roots organizer and entrepreneur who brings positive change to all of the communities that she’s involved with. In 2008 she took 2nd place in a worldwide contest to find the “World's Greenest Person”. We learned of Emily through the publicity of this contest, and since then we’ve watched her get involved and really make an impact - doing great things like developing green jobs in Vancouver, building the Edible Garden Project and helping launch the Loutet Community Garden in North Vancouver, and most recently, encouraging students to vote in Canada’s latest federal election. And so we asked her...how important was it for her to be recognized as “the World's 2nd Greenest Person” and what did it lead to?
What award did you win?
2nd place in the Greenest Person on the Planet Contest (Greenest Person in Canada)
When did you win it?
How did you feel in the months and years after winning this award?
Throughout the entire contest I felt surprised by the support and positivity that the contest generated. Rarely are contests intended to find and recognize the "everyday" people that make an effort to make a difference in their communities, and it was received very well. I felt honored to have the spot light for things that I had become so accustomed to doing in my daily life.
What has had a lasting impact on me is the responses (some I still get today) from people that I meet randomly that heard about or followed the contest and that were inspired by my story to change something in their own lives. The excitement on their faces when they told me about the garden they started or the compost bins they took to work, and how proud they were to have made these changes was incredibly inspiring for me.
Do you feel this award affected how other people perceive you? In what ways?
It's hard to say how it has affected the way that people perceive me because I haven't asked anyone directly about it. I think that often people are eager to hear what they can learn from me, and I feel like in some ways it has given me more credentials or authority to share my thoughts or experiences.
Did winning this award create any new opportunities for you? If so, in what way?
I can attribute a lot of the opportunities that I've had over the last few years to winning this award - directly or indirectly. One good example is that I had the opportunity to share my story at the Fraser Basin Council's (FBC) Youth Congress and Conference; it was an amazing experience, and I met a lot of wonderful people, strengthened my public speaking skills, and built a good relationship with the FBC. Building on that relationship, I'm now on the Board of Directors for the FBC as the first youth representative. Again, it has been an incredible learning experience for me that I may not have heard about if I was not involved with the Youth Congress and Conference.
Generally speaking there were a lot of media interviews that resulted from the contest, and that was something that I had not had any prior experience with. I've used what I learned from that in media interviews representing other organizations and projects I've been working on since then (i.e. Get Your Vote On), and have really appreciated that experience.
I'm sure that there are many other direct and indirect opportunities that have been a result of this contest and recognition!
Emily’s recognition as the Greenest Person in Canada has played an important role in her effectiveness within the community. It didn’t create her passion and drive, however it did help expose her good work to a larger audience and open some new doors....Emily has used that as a springboard and done the rest.
If you’d like to know more about the amazing sustainability and community work that Emily does, follow her adventures on Twitter or on her blog at www.urbanwren.wordpress.com. Keep up the great work Emily!
Are there any heroes in your community that could benefit from a greater profile and a wider audience? Perhaps recognition could help take them to the next level. Let us know if we can help.