This series is designed to introduce you to our current, future, and even some past board members.
We have new members joining the board soon, and wanted you to have an opportunity to get to know them, as well as the folks who are currently serving.
Meet Erin Gallagher, a long serving board member and co-chair of the board.
Find out why she was inspired to join NextGen.
I joined the NextGen Unama’ki board in 2014 because I believe in investing in Cape Breton youth and young professionals by providing them with a platform for community engagement. I was first introduced to NextGen in 2011, when I worked on a profile project, during a six-month term position with the Partnership. I found it so refreshing to meet and interview young professionals, in communities, all across Cape Breton Island, who were experiencing success in their career paths and made the decision to build their lives here.
I think it’s important to continue to highlight and create dialogue around young professionals who experience real success here. NextGen Unama’ki and the Partnership host the Vital Awards every November and we continue to be pleasantly surprised by the number of stellar nominations we receive year after year.
I look forward to celebrating young professionals, community leaders and organizations that are providing meaningful employment opportunities for youth, every year. I believe in exploring ways to engage young professionals and youth and providing them with the opportunity to have an active voice in helping to shape strong Cape Breton communities.
Like many Cape Breton youth and young professionals, I lived away from Cape Breton for a bit. A few years after I returned home, I chose to apply for a position with United Way Cape Breton to allow myself the opportunity to help youth on a broader scale. United Way Cape Breton strives to improve lives and build community by engaging and mobilizing local community members and groups to work together on challenging community issues. We have prioritized helping local youth succeed in all aspects of their lives, from birth through the school years to the transition into adulthood.
One of the reasons I love living here and being from Cape Breton is the pride we take in helping to make our local communities be the best they can be. I have the opportunity through my job, as well as, my role with NextGen Unama’ki to work with people who care so much about Cape Breton and strive to make our local communities vibrant. I’m not naïve to the challenges Cape Breton faces, but I work at United Way Cape Breton and volunteer with groups like NextGen Unama’ki because I want to be part of the conversations and actions that lead to fixing the issues and obstacles that face our local communities.
There are many dedicated people working to make Cape Breton communities stronger, healthier and more vibrant. I feel fortunate I get to spend my life here, close to my family, my husband Craig and a small network of close friends and workmates who have become some of my closest friends and make going to work a pleasure; all the while, living on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. That said, sometimes, you need to go away and come back to realize what you have in your own backyard.
The group of individuals I have the pleasure of sitting on the NextGen Unama’ki board with also care deeply about creating strong, vibrant communities in Cape Breton and want to make certain younger people are part of that process. With the support of the Partnership, and so many like-minded individuals who have a vested interest in engaging with young people, I believe we will be successful in creating strong, healthy, vibrant, local communities, where we can live happily, surrounded by family, friends and caring, passionate community members.
*I’d like to take this opportunity to mention, I only have one year left with the NextGen Unama’ki board, as I will be turning 40 in July 2021. We will welcome new board members in September and help them transition into their roles as part of our succession plan. We are confident the new members will amplify our mission of engaging in youth and young professionals as they explore new and creative ways to do so. Keep an eye out for their blog posts come the Fall.