A Maple Ridge woman took top honours at the recent Women Influencers Awards.
Marissa Stalman won the Community Steward award, presented by the Women’s Collaborative Hub, for her work as a seniors’ advocate.
Stacey GoKool nominated Stalman and said she is an outstanding community leader.
“I really did not realize how much I needed this award until I won it,” said Stalman.
“Women’s Collaborative Hub has helped me see that I am enough, and for that, I am so grateful.”
Stalman, who has had a long battle with chronic pain and depression, added she has not always been able to give back in ways that she wanted to.Most of the volunteer work she has done, instead, has been in the role of board director, including helping with fund development, strategic planning and policy-making.
“I think this Community Steward award represents that all forms of giving back, in any way we are individually able, matter and make a difference in our communities,” said Stalman.
Five years ago Lindsey Willis, now the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society executive-director, trained Stalman as a hospice volunteer.
“Hospice has become so important to me over the years that I have dedicated most of my graduate school studies to learning as much as I can about advancing hospice palliative care, particularly for persons with dementia and seniors,” said Stalman.
She hopes to make hospice palliative care more accessible to all Canadians.
GoKool said in her nomination letter that Stalman is currently completing her masters degree in gerontology at Simon Fraser University and “is an influential advocate for seniors,” previously working closely with the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society and as the board vice-president for the B.C. Hospice Palliative Care Association.
Stalman, said GoKool, began dedicating her career to seniors at the age of 18, when she started working as a registered care-aide in long-term care homes before becoming a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing.
She is past-president of the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society’s board of directors and a proud member of Maple Ridge’s Dementia Friendly Community Task Group.
Her current focus is on end-of-life care for those with dementia.
Stalman is also a published author and an accomplished speaker.
The awards are presented by the Women’s Collaborative Hub, a personal growth and empowerment platform for women to acknowledge, own and share their gifts.
WCH was founded in 2016 by Sandy Horton, Trish Mandewo, and Dana Harvey and has grown and evolved into a comprehensive platform for women to be empowered and to empower others through community events, webinars, workshops, training modules, mentoring, networking, and the signature Women Influencers Awards.
The awards were initiated in 2017 as a result of feedback from the Hub’s ‘World Cafe’ events, a safe place for women to approach topics that affect them in their community and to create action plans for change.
Other 2019 winners:
• Massi Bakhshian, Tri-Cities, Beyond the Call of Duty award;
• Jeanette Jackson, Tri-Cities, Sustainability Champion award;
• Priti Shah, Tri-Cities, Inspirational Wonder Woman award;
• Achia Safaya, Tri-Cities, Exceptional Educator award;
• Anita Wilson, Tri-Cities, Extraordinary Leader award;
• Priscilla Omulo, Tri-Cities, Indigenous Leader award;
• Reihaneh Mirjani, Tri-Cities, Newcomer Influencer award;
• Amber Gregory, Tri-Cities, Emerging Influencer award.