BY J.M. LEE
Ruby’s career has focused on fundraising for not-for-profits and the public sector including, raising money for arts, social services, civic infrastructure and other initiatives. She has worked extensively with community, building partnerships with various levels of government and business sectors to support projects all over the lower mainland. She has also volunteered on boards including, New Westminster Police Board, Fraserside Community Services and Arts Council of New Westminster.
“Community members encouraged me to run for City Councillor to help build a more inclusive and compassionate city,” On being a leader, Ruby imparts. “The most important lesson I have learned is to take the challenge but also be kind to myself. If I make a mistake, don’t blame out and don’t make excuses. We can all be so hard on ourselves and become afraid to make mistakes. I like to focus on the lessons”.
When asked about her motivation, Ruby shares “I am most inspired by my family, my husband, an incredibly supportive and amazing ally in my life, and my teenage daughter, who fills my day with joy and reminds me that while work is important, it is not everything. Special mention to my loving parents, who showed incredible integrity, generosity, and humility.”
After being laid off during the 2008, Ruby started her fundraising and event consulting company. Her daughter was a toddler, so Ruby wanted some flexibility, but had to work full time. She needed guidance on how to find clients and how to set up a business so bravely reached to some former colleagues to ask them for client referrals and advice.
“Truthfully, it was mainly a network of women who gave me the confidence and support I needed,” she says with profound admiration. “They referred clients to me, invited me to networking events, and would check in with me to ask how I was doing. I consulted for about 3 years and eventually went to a full-time job. Still, I will never forget the individuals who stepped up to my request for help.”
Ruby prioritizes making time to share knowledge with women when they invite her. “I prefer not to call it mentoring as I also learn from the experience,” she recalls. “I learned a great deal from women younger than I am, and I do not assume I know better or more than they do.”
Ruby believes everyone should be engaged and responsible for changing systems and organizational structures so women do not have to endure the extra work to be more resilient and courageous in order to thrive. Organizations must develop and implement equity policies and frameworks where all people can succeed without discrimination. This work should not only rest on the shoulders of racialized individuals or women but rather on everyone in society—including men.”
Ruby tries to balance being a part-time city councillor, a mother, a partner, a daughter, a family member, and a friend. When asked how she juggles everything, she shares, “My first thought is that men are rarely, if ever, asked how they balance personal and professional life” she suggests. “I think we need to change that mindset. My second thought is that a balanced life is complicated. In fact, we need to talk about this more. Work is busy, home life is busy, and taking care of kids is overwhelmingly busy—it can’t be at the top level all the time. It is ok if some parts of our life are not exactly perfect. We also need to ask for help and try to help others if we can. Instead of balancing everything, focusing on what is going well and being kinder to yourself and others when you are feeling challenged. Give yourself permission to say no or to slow down sometimes.”
Ruby reveals her mother is an extraordinary individual. She has always been kind, smart, and generous,” she says with reverence. “My mom spent most of her life prioritizing her children, spouse, and extended family’s care. She worked tirelessly in and out of our home to build a comfortable life for our family and succeeded. These days, watching my mother spend time being an amazing Nani (Grandmother) to my daughter, is a joy”