Ladies in the lower mainland seeking to be inspired need look no further. Surrey’s own Natasha Raey is a change-maker, advocate, community leader and the creator of the SheTalksYVR conference. She also has a resume that rivals Wonder Woman’s. Most importantly, she’s dedicated to making a difference, and she’s doing it right here in Surrey! We spoke to her about why she’s decided to keep her endeavours so close to home.
Tourism Surrey: How long have you been a part of the Surrey community?
Natasha Raey: I’ve lived in this community all my life! I went to elementary and high school here.
TS: What do you love about being a part of Surrey?
NR: I love the diversity of the community. I love that I can drive 10 – 15 minutes to get to the beach, and that this community is turning into a big city, but still has a small town feel. I love that there is opportunity here for people to be as engaged as they want in our political processes and the social tapestry of our community. I also love that there are so many groups who are working selflessly and so hard to help the more vulnerable members of our city.
TS: What’s the most valuable thing you provide Surrey?
NR: I think I provide opportunities for engagement for all types of people. I have started a number of initiatives, most notably and recently the SheTalks conference that is getting a ton of attention and information from people all over the lower mainland (and other parts of Canada). The first conference will be held in Surrey and is certainly going to bring attendees and media attention from all over.
TS: What’s the most valuable thing Surrey provides you?
NR: Surrey provides me with a home, many of my friends, and the work and personal relationships that make me who I am, and have helped me to strive and create impact in my world.
TS: What made you choose Surrey as the host city of your endeavors?
NR: Because I grew up here, I wanted to bring a super innovative and forward thinking event (like SheTalksYVR) to this city. I truly believe that it will help to put Surrey on the map for being a leader in the empowerment and leadership of women.
TS: How has Surrey inspired you, professionally or personally?
NR: This city is full of really amazing, smart, talented and well-connected people. This city inspires me everyday because it really does seem like there is opportunity at every corner.
TS: What has changed the most about Surrey in the last ten years?
NR: Growth! We have grown so much, and have found our way as a leader in the lower mainland in a number of areas. I truly believe that people outside of Surrey are really starting to see and recognize the power of the people here, and the contributions that “this side of the bridge” makes to BC, Canada and the world.
TS: Tell us something about you that not many people know.
NR: I was a dancer for 12 years for my life!
TS: Where do you imagine Surrey going in the next ten years?
NR: I imagine this city will continue to grow, we will be a larger centre for conventions and tourism, and we will be seen as a leader in areas such as health, technology, leadership…the list goes on.
TS: Anything else you would like to share?
NR: I would love people to come out to SheTalks on March 7th at the Chandos Pattison auditorium. 16 amazing women will each speak for 8 minutes at this inaugural event. Visit www.shetalksyvr.ca for more information :).
Photo Courtesy of Julia Kozlov