We are delighted to be able to introduce our new CEO Ebony Rempel.
We sat down virtually with her to find out a little bit more about her, her motivations and inspirations as she works to move the organization into the future.
Q1. Tell us a little about yourself?
As you might know, I’m new to the valley and I’m really excited to be here. I was born in Vancouver and grew up in southwestern Ontario. And for the last five years, I’ve been managing the women’s shelter up in Grand Prairie Alberta.
I moved here to the valley at the beginning of 2021, I’m really excited to be here to explore, to get some snowboarding in and see all that the Valley has to offer.
Q2. What motivated your move to YWCA Banff?
I’ve been doing this work for a while, and a lot motivates me in terms of moving forward. I think about gender-based violence and violence against women as a larger societal issue that we all need to be considering and we all need to be working towards ending.
There are such great, amazing things that are happening here at the YWCA Banff – there’s such innovation in terms of programming and support that’s offered. We offer everything from affordable housing options, programs and services for those that have experienced violence, sexual violence, domestic violence, intimate partner violence. And we’re really working hard from a feminist perspective to ensure that these programs and services are delivered in a way that is trauma-informed and violence informed.
Q3. Why are you passionate about this work?
I was really encouraged when I read more about what the Y is doing here for the community – they really care about filling in some of those gaps – things like, providing isolation spaces for those that are COVID positive, and really trying to fill different types of opportunities and ways in which we can give back and create a more equitable community
There’s so much that’s going on here! Lots more for me to learn, as most of you already know, we have a shelter we have lots of programming that supports survivors that supports those that have experienced a wide range of types of violence, our programs and services are available to anybody in the Bow Valley regardless of gender or orientation.
I think that a lot of the work that’s happening here is really innovative and new. It’s really refreshing to come into an organization that has such a handle and a good understanding of how to operate and how to work within this multifaceted type of organization. It’s really unique! I don’t think that there’s any other place like this across Canada that’s doing this kind of work so really excited to learn more about our operations and some of our new builds. For those of you that are here in Banff or from the valley and notice that we have a construction project going on our Courtyard Project that’s really going to advance the services that are available to those in the Bow Valley. But then, of course, really be able to integrate some of the work that we’re doing in a more purposeful way that really aligns with our mission and vision.
Q4. What excited you about the future of YWCA Banff?
So, here at the YWCA our vision is a thriving equitable community and I think that this is really important and something for me to keep in mind as the new CEO here.
I think about some of the work that I’ve learned about some of the opportunities that the Y has taken on, especially in light of COVID. I chatted a little bit about the isolation spaces that we’re providing here for the community. I just think it’s really cool the way that everybody is coming together to support the community’s needs as a whole. And so as our hotel closed, because of COVID, and some of the restrictions that were put in place and just the unique position that we’re in, in terms of all the things that we offer, we were able to take on some of these other opportunities to help those in the community.
So I’m really excited to see what other innovative ways we can support those that need support in the community. Other ways in which we can fill gaps while continuing to support those that have experienced violence or are at risk.
Q5. What is on your Bow Valley bucket list?
So yes, I’m new to the valley! I have visited many times, we’ve been up to sunshine many times, so I’m excited to get a season’s pass and get some snowboarding in. I’m really excited to find some lakes that we can go skating on and see the world underneath and just get out and explore – I know that there’s lots of great hikes in the area. I am living here with my partner Jamie and so we’re just really excited to see all of the things that Banff and the area have to offer. Winter is my favourite season and I feel like we came at a good time. The weather has been really good so far so we’ve been able to get out and bundle up and explore the town in a safe way.
If anybody has any special spots or places that we should visit please let us know. We’re excited to dive into this world.