Shirley Wilson leaves ‘Bigs’ for job with Langley hospital foundation

Abbotsford school trustee Shirley Wilson has resigned from her position with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization to accept a job with the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation (LMHF).

Shirley Wilson

Shirley Wilson

Abbotsford school trustee Shirley Wilson has resigned from her position with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization to accept a job with the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation (LMHF).

Wilson’s last day as director of external relations for BBBS of the Fraser Valley is Sept. 14, and her new role as LHMF director of development begins Sept. 27.

Wilson said it was a tough choice to leave a job that she loves, but she is looking forward to the “learning opportunities” and the different challenges she will face in her new position.

“It was an opportunity, career-wise, that I couldn’t turn down,” she said.

The LMHF is a non-profit organization that raises and designates funds for medical equipment and programs for the hospital.

Individuals and groups raise money for the foundation by hosting independent events, and the LMHF itself holds an annual charity gala each year.

Wilson has been with the organization that was formerly named BBBS of Abbotsford, Mission, Ridge Meadows for four years.

She decided to apply for an opening to give back to the community once her two children – a son and a daughter, now ages 14 and 16 respectively – didn’t need her at home as much.

Wilson had a fond connection to BBBS, having been a Big Sister in the early 1990s in Williams Lake.

“I felt really seriously inclined to apply (for the job opening) … I can’t even begin to explain it, but I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

She said among the highlight of the time with BBBS was the organization’s ability to raise funds for its capital campaign, while boosting its operational funding – to an all-time high – through events such as Bowl for Kids’ Sake and an annual golf tournament.

Wilson said she is pleased with the new path the organization is taking, in amalgamating with BBBS Upper Fraser Valley to become BBBS of the Fraser Valley.

Services and operations are currently being re-organized – including the role Wilson is leaving – and will make for a more efficient and sustainable service to children and families, she said.

Operations in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge were ceased earlier this year, due to cuts in government gaming grants. Offices in Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack remain open.

Executive director David Sheach said Wilson will be greatly missed, and was instrumental in helping BBBS achieve record-breaking revenues from events, managing the renovation of the building in Abbotsford, and building programs across the Fraser Valley.

“Shirley has guided the organization with gusto and care for people and detail,” he said.

Wilson said she will remain active in Abbotsford, including seeking another term on the board of education during November’s municipal election.

“I’m still very, very committed to supporting the work that the community does for children and families in Abbotsford.”