Kevin Wong has acted as Parkdale Cromdale Community League’s Communication Director for the past year and is now stepping into the shoes of our President. Having lived in the community for over four years, Kevin has become a spark of energy in the community as he seeks new ideas and solutions. This 28-year old civil engineer is currently working in an electrical engineering role and enjoys graphic design, architecture, gardening, and cooking. As he begins his journey of the presidency, we’ve conducted an interview for more information about who this fellow is. Let’s get to it:
Tia: What is your favorite memory with the community league?
Kevin: The first time we (Steven and I) came in trying to start a community garden. I remember how supportive the community league had been, how passionate they all were, and how this group of volunteers was incredibly committed to making it happen. By six months we had four boxes built and all these materials donated; it made me realize that you never know how much work it takes to get things done, but it was so much fun and it was also an opportunity for us to make friends.
T: What drove you to become a part of the board for the community league?
K: I think in the beginning, when I ran for the communications director, I believed that I had something to offer in terms of my interest in graphic design and interest in communication in general. I want people to be more engaged through getting them to know more about this organization. I want more people to come forward with their ideas and I want to become a support system for the community members that feel they have a lot to share but don’t have a channel to voice their opinions. That’s why I originally picked that role; to engage people and do graphic design as well.
T: How would people communicate in a perfect world?
K: Hm...one of the principles I think I would want to use is to acknowledge our history and learn from these experiences (the good and the bad) while continually moving forward. I would say we should aim for an open communication style; we need to talk about issues, but we shouldn’t be shy about compliments either. Let’s speak our minds more often. Genuine communication involves having the hard conversations while ensuring we still have an appreciation and validation
Bryce: What is the best way community leagues can move forward with a changing world?
K: I think the most important part is being informed. I believe that you need all the information in order to make an informed decision. I always try to ask what the other side of the story is and learn the different perspectives involved. In terms of moving forward; we all have different voices on different issues, but it's the mutual understanding of each other's opinions that help move things forward. We need to establish common ground because ultimately we are trying to achieve the same goal. We want to be more involved with how the city plans to change aspects of our community and it’s important to keep people informed on how they can engage with the community and the city.
B: You're an engineer, what do you find most satisfying about your career?
K: Part of it would be working with a team. Solution finding is also satisfying in that you present the problem and gather information to do an analysis, then you come to the most logical conclusion. As an engineer, you make decisions that affect people’s lives, so before we make these decisions we do research on what basis we need to find the best answer. That is the most satisfying part of it because I feel like I am equipped to make a decision properly when it’s rooted in evidence and thoughtfulness rather than simply my perspective. I enjoy the learning aspects of my job just as much as I enjoy the decision making.
B: If you had to rate your luck from tragic hero to all set with your 4 leaf clover, how lucky would you be?
K: I would say a three-leaf, regular clover maybe? I consider myself pretty lucky. I’m surrounded by people I care about and people who care about me. With people that are passionate about achieving something greater than themselves and collectively, I think I’ve been lucky with the community league as well. With the projects and programs we’ve taken on, everything has been relatively smooth and I’m grateful for the people I have around me. There are plenty of things I can’t do alone and these volunteers and community members ensure I have the help I need. The right people have shown up at the right time, and that’s why I’m lucky.
T: What is the best advice you’ve been given that you’d perhaps like to share with other people?
K: There’s too much to choose from.
K: I think the best would be to put yourself in other people’s shoes and really listen. Before you react - Listen. Give people a chance to tell their story and be open to other things. It’s vague…but it means a lot to me that we take the time to listen to the people we talk to. That’s why I enjoy sitting back and hearing everyone’s voice because it gains perspective on what others think, which is especially important in a leadership role.
T: Anything else you want people to know about yourself?
K: I get very excited about things, as you can tell.
K: I get excited when people are willing to volunteer and give their time while being committed. It makes me really happy to see people who take initiative. It excites me that people see the value in putting effort into something they believe in: that’s everyone on the board and in the community league. People believe in this community and they put a lot of thought and effort into it. We may not all be on the same page, but - This goes back to why I wanted to run for president; I want to work with these people because they are passionate and you could not find a crowd more passionate than this community. Margaret and Deb, in particular, inspire me because they have been volunteering so much of their time throughout all the ups and downs of the community league. They are like the glue that holds us together.
Best wishes to Kevin as he takes on this new role and we hope you all enjoyed what he had to share with us, we sure did.