20 Stories Down – The Ascent of Stephanie Cadieux

Resampled_big_SC_StehphanieHangsOut_14Sept10_500 She rappels down the sides of tall buildings, wheelchair and all.  This may be all you need to know about Stephanie Cadieux, British Columbia's first ever Cabinet Minister with a spinal cord injury.  A short clip is worth a thousand words. 

Of course there is more to this woman of adventure, spirit and talent.  While an SFU student she was flung from a friend's car as he swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle, landing in a ditch and breaking her back.  She's been ascending ever since. 

Switching from a major in criminology and political science to a degree in business. Refreshing the BC Paraplegic Society as their Director of Marketing. 

Then joining me at 2010 Legacies Now, as we leveraged the 2010 Paralympic and Olympic Games to benefit British Columbians with disabilities.  She researched and launched an Accesible Tourism strategy that is: increasing tourism business from the accessibility market (seniors, individuals with disabilities and their families); improving accessibility to retail businesses, hotels, restaurants and tourism outlets and creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Then winning the Liberal nomination in Surrey Panorama, being elected and 18 months later sitting in Cabinet as British Columbia's new Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.  She is the Government's youngest MLA which makes her our youngest Cabinet Minister.

What most will not know but shouldn't be surprised by, is Stephanie's commitment and embodiment of social innovation.  She is a fellow traveller in this emerging field.  Along with Gordie Hogg she chaired a caucus committee on Social Innovation that is generating government action in the area of social finance and social enterprise. 

On Friday December 10th, Sam Sullivan, another politician who knows about first, hosts a noon celebration of her Cabinet appointment.  Something, we seem to take in our stride but which citizens with disabilities in the rest of the world can only imagine. 

I'll be toasting and was thinking of comparing her to Ginger Rogers.

They said Ginger Rogers was twice as good as Fred Astaire.  She could do everything he did, except she did it backwards and in high heels.  Then I realized Ginger Rogers didn't use a wheelchair.

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  1. Tina Crouse

    Wonderful update Al ! Every time I see something about Stephanie, it impresses me more and more and in person, she is such a nice and humble person for all her accomplishments. I hope your toast is very big to include all of us who are private fans.

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