Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised in Brandon. I was a hairstylist, salon owner, hairdressing instructor, and a national platform artist for a color company. This spanned over twenty-five years. An inoperable wrist diagnosis cut my career short. It was at this time that I decided I would go back to university. I would have two careers that I would love instead of one. I looked at this experience as a blessing. I will still be able to help people, which is my real passion.
I am a mature student and a Student Leader at Brandon University. As a Student Leader, I enjoy showing the new students around campus, encouraging them to take advantage of all activities and become engrossed in the university experience. I occupy the same place in the library every day, and I am always willing to help a fellow student. I have been in their place, as I have attempted university three times. I remember feeling lost and not knowing who to ask for help. I see myself as that friendly face that people feel comfortable approaching for help and encouragement.
I am a proud sister and aunt to two incredible nieces and two amazing nephews. I am the daughter of two of the most influential and supportive parents any woman could have. I am most proud of being a mother to a beautiful nine-year-old little girl. I am a fighter for the underdog. I love to garden and be outside. I love duck hunting and my association with B.O.W [becoming an outdoorswoman]. B.O.W. is an organization run by women, for women who like to hunt, fish, trap, and learn wilderness survival skills. I enjoy boating and fishing with my parents and my daughter and spending our summers at the family cabin, my paradise.
I greet everyone with a smile, a “hello,” and if you need a hug, I am your girl. I love with all of my heart and the people around me inspire me.
What education have you taken?
I completed high school in the early 1990s, at Crocus Plains, with a double certificate in Cosmetology and Academics. I have taken hundreds of specialized classes and programs in the hair-styling industry. I was two courses away from completing a certificate in Adult Education through Red River College when I received my wrist diagnosis. It was then that I decided to pursue an entirely different career path.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am proud of many things in my life. Mostly my daughter. She truly is the best part of me and she makes me more proud than anything I could achieve. I think this nomination is a remarkable accomplishment, as well. This experience made me feel both humbled and honoured. Academically, I am proud to say that after many tears, thoughts of giving up, feelings of inadequacy, and fear, I will be graduating from Brandon University in the spring of 2020. It was not an easy road for me, but with the help of Student Services, Student Accessibility Services, some outstanding and compassionate professors, and encouragement from my family and friends, I learned to be an academic. I am proud of my determination to succeed and show others that age is not a detriment, it is an asset.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
Well to be completely honest, I never really thought about what I was going to do after my undergrad. I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but that was only a way to be able to help teenagers. That is where my heart is. I love teens, especially “troubled” teens. I see potential in them, and I feel I can offer them guidance, understanding, and compassion. I want to be someone who listens, someone to talk with, a shoulder for them to cry on, and someone who will celebrate their victories. I want to be that someone who cares what happens to them.
I thought my only way of helping them was through an education degree. I had a long conversation with my professor, Dr. Darrell Racine, and he made a few recommendations. I did some research and realized that I wanted to do more than teach. That year my focus changed completely. My major became Native Studies, and upon completion of my Bachelor of Arts degree, I will pursue a Masters degree in Counselling.
What is your philosophy in life?
I have a few actually.
- Treat every person as a unique individual with dignity and respect and as a valuable part of society.
- Smiles are free. Give one of yours away.
This one is actually an experiment I tried about ten years ago. I noticed people in a store line up changing the cashier’s mood with rude comments and sharp words. I decided to smile and be overly kind to the cashier. By the time, I was at the front of the line I noticed she looked deflated and was no longer smiling at people. So I smiled, thanked her and made a joke, she laughed and said, “Thank you I needed that today.” I started thinking about how one person’s actions can have a ripple effect on each individual they encounter. This became my new way of life. I would put a smile on my face, even when I did not want to smile and greet everyone with kind-heartedness. It does work. People often ask me, “Do you ever have a bad day?” I say, “You bet, but I’m alive and loved, so it’s a day to be happy.”
- Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself never “working” a day in my life, living life to the fullest and enjoying time with my daughter. I want to help people live their lives in a respectful and empowering way. I want to see changes in society when we no longer view people as groups or minorities but as the individual. I would love to see stereotypes broken and I know I am educating my daughter to love people for who they are not for who society says they are.
I would like to nominate Stacey Preston for this year’s International Women’s Day recognition.
Stacey is an exceptional student, leader, and mentor to those around her in the Brandon University community. She brightens days with her positive attitude and is always willing to lend an ear or hand to a fellow student. Stacey took part in the Student Leader Certificate program last year and is a Student Leader this year. She is wonderful at welcoming new students to campus and every event she assists with she does so with an amazing attitude that is contagious and results in everyone around her having fun and feeling at ease. Stacey shows ongoing initiative, leadership, and dedication in everything she does, whether it is volunteering for events, encouraging her peers, being a student, or being an amazing mother. Stacey is an inspiration to those around her, including myself; she shows that often the greatest impact one can have on another person is having a great attitude, generosity, and overall kindness.