In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting some of the impactful women that belong to Minerva. In this final feature, we interviewed Learning to Lead™ alumna and YAC member Liv Dunsdon. Experience her energy in the blog below!
After graduating from Reynolds Secondary School last June, Liv is now a First-Year student at the University of Victoria studying Biology and taking electives in Gender Studies and languages. Despite the ups and downs of remote school, Liv’s positivity can liven any mood.
Having grown up on the coast, Liv is passionate about marine life. Outside of school, she enjoys walks on the beach and works as a Junior Aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. In her spare time, Liv listens to alternative and indie music. One of her favourite artists is the Vancouver-based band Said the Whale – an unsurprising choice given her love of the ocean.
Upon completing our 2019 Learning to Lead™ program, Liv joined Minerva’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) later that year. This year, she was nominated as the Co-Chair of the YAC Mentorship Committee. Since joining the Minerva community, Liv has continued to impress us with her empathetic leadership and knowledge.
She enjoys learning new things and sharing her knowledge with others, evident by her ability to articulate her passions and interests. Minerva’s programs and initiatives have provided her with the opportunity to connect with a passionate group of girls from across the province, expose her to new ideas, and help her become more confident and inspired.
“My involvement with the YAC has connected me to a wider community that inspires me and has encouraged me to be innovative and get involved in a variety of causes. The YAC has also taught me so much about valuing other people’s perspectives.”
Liv and her fellow YAC members played a pivotal role last year after COVID-19 struck and Learning to Lead™ had to adapt to a virtual format. Thanks to the time, organization, and support of our young leaders like Liv, we were able to transition and deliver the program to 150 girls – we are more resilient because of our youth.
During the program, Liv was impressed by the use of pronouns during the Zoom sessions. She noticed that participants were encouraged to put their pronouns in their Zoom “names”. Once the program ended, she was inspired to make spaces more welcoming to LGBTQ+ people. Within a week, Liv began to craft pronoun and pride flag buttons for the staff and volunteers in her workspace using a button machine, which caught the interest of friends and family who wanted buttons for themselves.
“As a queer individual, this was very important to me, but I wasn’t sure how my leadership could make these kinds of differences. Learning to Lead™ taught me to find strength in vulnerability, which led to me returning to my workspace and coming out to my employer, as well as beginning to talk openly about how we can make our workspace more welcoming and accepting.”
Liv feels fortunate to have grown up in an environment surrounded by strong, supportive women. She is also grateful for the influence of social media, which has provided her with access to support networks and resources.
Through her learning and activism, Liv understands the importance of asking for pronouns rather than assuming. She is a strong believer that is inclusivity is the key to leading with empathy and embodies this value in her day-to-day life.
Thank you, Liv, for leading by example and being vulnerable and open with others. We are excited to watch you grow as you continue on in your leadership journey!