HIGHSTREET HONOURS THOSE WOMEN OF THE COMMUNITY WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
It’s been just over a year since we opened our doors at Highstreet. And in reflection of our time here, one thing is evident: The invaluable role that the Abbotsford community has played in shaping Highstreet. The city has a national reputation for giving, and we have been lucky enough to see this first hand. It is a community that takes supporting each other seriously, for the people of Abbotsford give, not only their financial resources when they believe in someone or something, but time.
It was never our ambition to be just another “mall,” our vision was to create a place where lives would weave and connect, a place for the potential that emerges when good people gather. “I am lucky to have so many mentors in this community,” said Curtis, today Highstreet’s Marketing Director, who has a long history of supporting charitable causes and local events. Adding, “Their passion for the city and their willingness to lend a helping hand is infectious.” During Tanya’s tenure as Marketing Director, Highstreet has participated in countless community events, fundraisers and has hosted its own events—always focusing on giving back to the community and charities including Big Brother Big Sisters, Matthew’s House, The Abbotsford Hospice, The Salvation Army, The Crystal Gala and more.
With this in mind, to commemorate our one-year milestone we thought it was only fitting to honour the women who are leading the way in making Abbotsford one of the most giving communities in the country. Gathering for dinner at Tanya’s home, the evening was aptly named Sustenance, as a tribute to that which sustains us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Guests included banker-turned Chief Fundraising Officer for the Premier, Laurie Shopland whose career was shaped in not-for-profit posts with the BC Cancer Agency, BC Arthritis Society and Abbotsford’s Canucks Place. Deb Lowell who has dedicated three decades of her career to the Salvation Army, an organization that has done meaningful humanitarian work in the community. Volunteering proponent Christine Wiebe was the recipient of two Queen’s Medals in recognition of her outstanding service to others in both 2002 and 2012. A true community volunteer in every sense of the word. Entrepreneur Brittany Manulak gives her time to The Reach Gallery Fundraiser, The Crystal Gala Foundation and a number of other worthwhile and local charities. Gerri Charles is a passionate advocate for the concept of “giving local” through organizations like the Girl Guide movement, which she believes is a breeding ground for “little leaders.” Gerri was also presented with the Queen’s Jubilee for her long-standing commitment to community. And guest Tracy Dueck of Tracycakes Bakery and Café who prepared the evening’s delicious meal. Herself an avid supporter of The Crystal Gala Foundation and World Vision, admits that giving has never been a strategic decision. “It’s just something I do,” she says, echoing the overall sentiments of the evening.
Not surprisingly the conversation was lively and centered around early influences, what inspires them to take the path to giving, and how their professional and philanthropic choices have impacted and enhanced their family life. Each admitted that, upon reflection, it was “serendipity” that seemed to bring them to their current place in life. All the while, the women agreed in the importance of instilling a legacy of giving in the next generation along the way. “When your children get involved in the act of giving back, it’s amazing,” says Brittany.
Abbotsford is a special place and Highstreet is committed to fostering a vibrant meeting place for locals to gather, connect and make a difference.
Photos by Tanya Goehring of Post Photography.