We are thrilled to announce that the Honourable Janet Austin is Seva Canada's newest Honorary Patron!
The Honourable Janet Austin was sworn-in as the 30th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia on April 24, 2018. Prior to this appointment, she spent 15 years as Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Metro Vancouver, one of the province’s largest and most diversified non-profits. There she oversaw operations delivering services to tens of thousands of people annually at more than 40 locations.
Under Her Honour’s leadership, the reach and scope of services offered by the YWCA increased significantly and flourished under the social enterprise model she championed. Using solutions-oriented and collaborative advocacy, she positioned the YWCA as a leading voice on women’s equality. She fostered relationships with non-profits, business communities and all levels of government to contribute to policy changes at the federal and provincial levels to improve the lives of women, children and families.
Her Honour has actively volunteered for many organizations in commitment to helping improve the lives of others. She has served on the boards of TransLink, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Council for Early Child Development, the Women’s Health Research Institute, MOSAIC and the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. She has been a long-time volunteer with United Way of the Lower Mainland and has served on the BC Provincial Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship, the City of Vancouver Healthy City for All Leadership Council and the Organizing Committee for the National Retreat for Women.
Her Honour is Chancellor of the Order of British Columbia and was invested as a Member of the Order in 2016. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Other awards and honours include the Business in Vancouver (BIV) CEO of the Year in the non-profit category, BIV Influential Woman in Business Award, the Vancouver Board of Trade Community Leadership Award and Wendy MacDonald Diversity Champion Award, the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Big Sisters Big Heart Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Raised in Calgary, Alberta, Her Honour is a graduate of English from the University of Calgary. She spent her early career in public sector roles in Calgary, working in regional planning and public consultation and communications for the Alberta government. She eventually moved to British Columbia, where she began working with BC Housing and discovered her passion and aptitude for public office. Prior to joining the YWCA, Janet served as Executive Director of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.