The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society (COJHS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephanie Ball as our new Executive Director. Stephanie brings over 26 years experience in the Human Services sector and has convened and collaborated on a wealth of local, regional and national projects both in Canada and the UK. As a seasoned executive, she has spent much of her career engaged in systems-level orchestration and brings a strong reputation as an impact strategist.
We asked Stephanie a few questions to share with the community as to what drew her to this opportunity, the area, and what her early discoveries have been.
Q: What is it about this role that excited you?
A: Stephanie shared with us her overwhelming belief that Kelowna can, and will reach its goal of Functional Zero homelessness. “I was extremely impressed when I did a deep dive into the evolution of the Journey Home Strategy, and I knew early on this is where I wanted to focus my energy and passion. So much intentionality was put into the development of the Strategy, and it was framed to encompass the Youth Homelessness Strategy; which I believe is a first in Canada. It also embeds an Indigenous response aligned with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. There is also a deeply rooted engagement from broad sectors including technology, research, business, and faith; and stakeholders that you rarely see at the table. Kelowna has an amazing collective of talent and resources working to find sustainable solutions to homelessness. I really wanted to be a part of this continued vibrancy and momentum.”
Q: How do you see your experience in other communities contributing to ending homelessness in Kelowna?
A: “I believe deeply in localized solutions and while there is similar work occurring across communities, the community context always looks different. My experience provides me with the depth of practice that is critical in understanding the complexity of homelessness and poverty on a multifaceted level, and the acumen to effectively convene partners, stakeholders and investors in achieving the targets and timelines necessary to reach Functional Zero by 2024. In every other respect, my interest lays in expanding my understanding of the Kelowna context of homelessness. Kelowna has unique local root causes of homelessness for our citizens. We also have unprecedented engagement, collaboration, and commitment from stakeholders, all levels of government, and community members. The solutions are manifesting through the centering of that community wisdom all the time. I’m just a little late to the party, but thrilled to have been invited.”
Q: What have been your early discoveries since arriving to Kelowna?
A: “Citizens everywhere are talking about this issue; people want and expect us, to get this right. I’ve never witnessed a community so authentically engaged in finding immediate and long-term solutions to ending homelessness. More than ever there are people coming forward to offer support, resources and advocating for our citizens experiencing homelessness. There are times when I’m sure the community feels divided over what immediate solutions should be, but on a broader sense, ending homelessness matters to each and every person. There is no apathy, and that is incredible, rare, and another reason I’m thrilled to be here in this role, and as a community member. There is an eclectic, organic way that this community ebbs and flows. It’s fabulous to be a part of the Kelowna vibe that you feel when you’re immersed in this community.”
Q: What other community interests are you planning to pursue?
A: “I’m excited to explore the local music scene and make some connections. It would be cool to start up a new band down the road and get back to singing again. There is so much local talent and I love how the community supports its artists. I’m also looking forward to hiking with my family and 3 dogs. This region has been my family’s go-to place in the summer for over a decade, and I have family and friends here. I love to support local businesses and Kelowna is rich in its offerings.”
Stephanie will be working alongside the COJHS Board Executive over the coming weeks to ensure the seamless transition of leadership, and the continuance of the strategic priorities and activities of the Society.
You can reach Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 250-869-9315.
Dr. Kyleen Myrah
Chair – Central Okanagan Journey Home Society