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Partner Spotlight – They Inspire Change

Posted by calgary

Picture (Left to Right): Cindy Stephenson, Jo-Ann Pawliw and Lisa Dixon-Wells


WHEN LISA DIXON-WELLS PARTICIPATED IN FAST PITCH 2014, SHE KNEW DARE TO CARE, WOULD BE A PERFECT FIT FOR SVP. Dare to Care shifts bullying culture, by teaching children, youth and adults to be socially responsible citizens through education and skill development. Back then, they were still establishing their charitable status and not ready for SVP’s support.

“Now we’ve truly come together as a board and as a program,” says Lisa, executive director and founder of Dare to Care. “We have so much we want to accomplish, we’re poised for growth and know that SVP can help us achieve just that.”

Last June, SVP Calgary partners selected Dare to Care as the newest investee, after a powerful presentation by Lisa. Jo-Ann Pawliw was recruited to help Lisa practice and polish her presentation. Jo-Ann runs an executive coaching business, Heart of Performance, and is the Director of Western Canada for the Institute for Health and Human Potential.

The experience with Lisa motivated Jo-Ann to become an SVP partner, as she loved the idea of connecting with others through philanthropy. When asked to be a co-lead partner for Dare to Care with Cindy Stephenson, Jo-Ann jumped at the chance.

Cindy recently retired from Imperial Oil where she worked in Environmental Policy and Planning, and was the vice president of the Imperial Foundation. She saw value in sharing her professional knowledge and staying connected with the community.

Jo-Ann and Cindy didn’t anticipate the great relationship and learning they would gain from each other. They come from vastly different backgrounds: Cindy has worked in large organizations, handling personnel; Jo-Ann spends her time coaching individuals for better performance in the corporate sector, non-prof- it organizations, sports teams and schools. They approach Dare to Care from different perspectives and bring a unique approach to the partnership. Both agree Lisa is incredibly passionate about Dare to Care, eager to bounce ideas and receive advice. “She’s generous in her listening, which makes for an open, honest, successful partnership,” says Cindy.

They see an important need that Dare to Care fills in our community, building a safe space for kids. And they’re excited to help propel Dare to Care to the next level.

“I like to compare Dare to Care to the Little Engine that Could. Our program is full of everything that is good and we are trying to deliver our support to as many people as we can,” says Lisa. “We reached out to many groups,
but most passed us by because we are small. Then SVP came along. With their support, we can see the top of the hills we’re trying to get up. SVP is providing the power and guidance we need to reach our goals.”

Five SVP Calgary partners are currently working with Dare to Care to develop their five- year strategic plan.