Leaders in the community interview

source: https://m.facebook.com/pg/realactsofcaring/posts/

Guiding Question: How can our leadership make a positive impact in our community?  

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog! If you wish to see a more interactive, visual and audio version of this blog post, please click here for a fun PowerPoint. 

This blog post is about an interview I conducted with a community leader, Harriette Chang. Harriette is the Director and Coordinator of Real Acts of Caring (RAC). She found an interest for leadership as early as grade eight, and she has been seeking out leadership opportunities ever since then. She has a Masters in Educational Leadership and now works for SD43 as a counsellor.  

Click here for the Real Acts of Caring website. Click here for an article about some of Harriette’s accomplishments with RAC, and here for some examples of RAC initiatives with SD43.  

Exceptional personal qualities as a leader:  

Harriette has so many exceptional qualities that allow her to effectively run the Real Acts of Caring organization. During our interview, she highlighted a few of these qualities as being extra important. Mental flexibility and open-mindedness were two that she found particularly significant. As Harriette works with people of all ages, she must find ways to connect with each person by encouraging new ways of thinking. Collaboration, problem solving, and critical and creative thinking are super important for completing complex tasks within the organization, such as preparing for presentations and fundraising events. Further, Harriette explained that delegating is another skill that she uses often. At any given time, there may be many important RAC events occurring simultaneously, so delegation can improve efficiency. Interpersonal skills and listening skills allow Harriette to form connections with others in the Real Acts of Caring steering committee, which creates a welcoming environment. Planning and multi-tasking are also really important. As previously mentioned, RAC often has many different events occurring in a short period of time. Harriette has to plan and facilitate all these activities to ensure their success. In fact, during our interview, Harriette mentioned one time when Real Acts of Caring had three different city council presentation occurring on the same night. Harriette had to prepare for all three presentation and ensure that the presenters were ready. This required immense planning and multi-tasking skills. Lastly, Harriette inspires other to take initiative. Working as a counsellor in schools, she gets to talk to many different students and share RAC with many people. She has had to develop skills to inspire others to take initiative and spread Real Acts of Caring through the community. 

Accomplishments in the community:  

Over the years, Harriette has accomplished so much in the community. In 2006, she began Real Acts of Caring in an SD43 school. Since then, Real Acts of Caring has been on newspapers and news channels on TV multiple times, including in 2007 when RAC won Newsmaker of the year for the Tri-Cities. Harriette has been able to spread RAC around BC and even other parts of Canada, too. Every year, Real Acts of Caring members present at city councils in BC. Real Acts of Caring was even recognized in the senate in Ottawa with Harriette’s guidance. Now, Harriette is writing a Real Acts of Caring book, and educator’s manual, with the goal of spreading awareness for RAC.  

Real Acts of Caring plans several initiatives to spread kindness in the community. As a part of the RAC steering committee myself, I have participated in several events like handing out cards and kind notes to strangers and paying for people’s drinks at the local café. Now, RAC is raising awareness for climate change and distributing fabric bags with the goals of eliminating single use plastics. Harriette, as the director of RAC, supervises and plans each of these community events. 

Photo from when myself and many other students traveled to Victoria with Harriette to watch the RAC Provincial Proclamation being read. Source: News Item – School District No. 43 (Coquitlam) (sd43.bc.ca)

Why do I believe Harriette is an effective community leader:

I have been a part of the RAC steering committee for four years, and as such, I have been able to watch RAC accomplish so much with Harriette’s leadership. She truly inspires others to take initiative. People as young as grade four and five get the opportunity to present for city councils for RAC, and many people would likely never get this opportunity without Harriette’s help. Personally, I was fairly nervous before I presented for the first time in front of a city council, but Harriette was so calm and helpful. As previously mentioned, RAC often has several events occurring at once, which takes immense organization to plan. I think that one of the most significant reasons for Harriette’s incredible leadership is her compassion. It is extremely clear that she genuinely cares about each person in RAC and everyone around her. She is always encouraging, and this creates an incredibly welcoming and fun environment. Finally, Harriette mentors others for different tasks within the RAC steering committee, so we all get to contribute and learn. All of these qualities make Harriette a phenomenal community leader.  

How does Harriette inspire me and others to make a difference in our community: 

Harriette’s passion for RAC and compassion for everyone around her make her an inspiration to many, many people. I have always admired Harriette for her determination to spread kindness in her community, which just shows her passion for Real Acts of Caring. As well, she always gives the credit for RAC events and initiatives to the students, and this encourages us to participate in future activities even more. It is abundantly evident that Harriette cares about each person she works with, which makes Real Acts of Caring a really fun place to be. She continues to provide everyone with a multitude of opportunities to take initiative, inspiring us to make a difference. When a learning opportunity arises, she always teaches us as much as she possibly can. It is Harriette’s genuine compassion and caring that inspire each person to follow her lead and make a difference in their community.  

Main takeaways:  

I learned so much from my interview with Harriette, but the following are a few of the main pieces of wisdom I will be taking away. Firstly, leadership is a journey. Harriette continues to seek opportunities to take initiative and encourages others to do the same. She says that embracing new experiences is the best way to improve your leadership. Trying new activities like traveling and volunteering will ultimately teach you so much and expand your wisdom. She encourages meeting new people whenever possible to build an open-minded mindset; meeting new people throughout your journey is the key to growing. And finally, education does not just occur in a classroom. Travelling, meeting new people, volunteering, taking on other opportunities, and challenging yourself to think outside the box are all equally as valuable as classroom learning. 


“We’re all lifelong learners, and we all learn in different ways and at different rates. But I think that the more opportunities we allow ourselves, the better we can build upon them.”

– Harriette Chang 

Thank you so much to Harriette Chang for volunteering her time for our interview! I genuinely learned so much from our conversation, so thank you! And thanks to everyone reading this post. If you have any comments or questions, please comment them below.


Developing the Leaders Around You


Session one 


“To add growth, lead followers… to multiply, lead leaders.”  

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 

What does it mean?

This law states that if a leader wants to grow a little bit, they should lead people who will follow them; however, if a leader wants to grow a lot – or multiply their growth – they should lead people who are leaders. One way to think about this principle is that people can’t develop on their own. By leading followers, a leader will only be able to grow a limited amount. On the other hand, if a leader leads other leaders, that person will be able to learn from the people that they are leading, and their growth will multiply.  

Why did I choose this principle?  

I chose this principle because very often I feel that when I am leading, I forget that the goal is not to lead people who will just follow, but to lead people who will also lead. This principle can certainly help me in the future, whether it is in TALONS or later in my learning career 

How am I going to apply this principle to future leadership activities?  

I am going to use this principle while planning cultural events, leadership events and adventure trips in the future. Since we plan all of these occasions alongside the grade nines, the other grade tens and I will help mentor the TALONS in the grade below us. I will remember this concept during the planning processes and make sure that the grade nines are using the skills they will learn to develop into leaders. Because, if I can start leading leaders, I can start learning from those leaders. When the grade nines further developing their leadership styles, I will be able to discover different ways to approach situations and challenges.  

Session two 


The two characteristics of leaders:  

1. They are going somewhere.  

2. They are able to persuade others to go with them.  

What does it mean?

These two characteristics of leaders help define what makes a person a leader. The first characteristic, “they are going somewhere,” indicates that a leader needs to have a vision. A leader needs to know where they are headed, so that they can effectively lead others who will hopefully help the leader go where they want to go. The second characteristic, “they are able to persuade others to go with them,” indicates that a leader needs to be able to convince the people they lead to help them reach their destination. If a leader is able to persuade others to go with them, their journey will be a lot easier and more successful.  

Why did I choose this principle?  

I chose this principle because I felt that it is a great way to view leading. The first characteristic gives a leader a reason to lead. If you have no destination in mind, there is no reason for you lead others. The second characteristic gives a leader a goal to strive for. The leader not only has to have a destination in mind, they have to be able to convince others of that same objective. I think that these two characteristics delve deep into the why of leadership when analyzed closely.  

How am I going to apply this principle to future leadership activities?  

I am going to use this principle to help me in future leadership activities by considering these two characteristics while leading. I will ask myself, “am I going somewhere? Do I have a vision of where this is taking me?” If the answer is no, I will reconsider my goals for the project. Once the answer to these questions is yes, I will ask myself, “am I persuading others to come with me while reaching my vision?” If the answer is no, I need to find a way to get others on track with my idea and goal. I can do this by asking for feedback and input on where I picture our project or event going.  

Session three 


I model.  

What does it mean?

This concept can be paraphrased by saying that people do what people see, so a leader should do what they want the people they lead to do. John C. Maxwell says that there are two types of leaders, the “travel agents” and the “tour guides.” A leader that does not model is a travel agent, sending the people they lead to places they’ve never been to. A leader that models is a tour guide, taking the people they lead to places the leader has been to many times. Norman Vincent Peale said, “nothing is more confusing that people who give good advice and set bad examples.” The people being discussed in this quote would be travel agent leaders, as they do not model.  

Why did I choose this principle?  

I chose this concept because as a leader, you cannot gain credibility by being a travel agent leader. A respected leader will model how they expect the people they lead to behave. As a grade ten in TALONS, I want to be a good model for the grade nines, so that next year they can become good leaders for the new grade nines.  

How am I going to apply this principle to future leadership activities?  

I am going to apply this concept to future leadership activities by making sure that I model good behaviour for the grade nines. I will be as organized as possible; I will work efficiently; I will help others when they need it. By modeling this behaviour, I will hopefully become a more credible and respected leader. For example, when working on a leadership event, I will make sure that every aspect of the project is being organized as best as possible, and I will work efficiently so that I have time to help others who are a bit behind or are confused.  

Session four 


Pools of people at each level of growth.  

Page 126 – John C. Maxwell’s Developing The Leaders Around You

What does it mean?

The pools of growth indicate the amount a leader has grown. The first level is the largest, meaning that most people are situated in the level with “some growth.” The second pool is a little bit smaller than the first one, which means that there are still many people who fall in the category of having “growth that makes them capable in their job,” although there are less people in this pool than in level one. Every level increases in growth and decreases in the amount of people. When applying these pools of growth to developing leaders around you, the first two levels will probably provide producers, not reproducers. At level three, the producers become reproducers. Levels four, five and six are when reproducers become critical members of an organization 

Why did I choose this principle?  

I chose this concept because these pools of growth are a good way to measure my growth during a certain period of time. In my school career, I hope to grow as much as possible, and I can use these pools to measure my growth. It is also a reminder that I want to reach level six. Returning to the previous concept in session twothe two characteristics of leaders, I am going to level six, and I will keep this vision in mind while persuading others to come with me to this sixth pool of growth.  

How am I going to apply this principle to future leadership activities?  

I am going to use the pools of growth to measure my growth after certain activities in leadership. For example, after planning my leadership event, I will think about what pool I was in before the event, and I will consider if I changed pools. I will keep the goal of reaching level six in mind while planning events and learning in leadership classes.