Character Abbotsford holds a conference on Oct. 25 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre. The organization has held two previous conferences in the community. (Submitted photo)

Character Abbotsford hosts conference on ‘Building our Foundation’

More than 300 expected at event on Oct. 25 at Abbotsford Arts Centre

Character Abbotsford hosts it third conference at the Abbotsford Arts Centre (2329 Crescent Way) on Friday, Oct. 25.

The conference theme of “Building our Foundation: How Leading with Character Empowers a Community from the Ground Up” is about people from all sectors of the city working together to make an impact.

The event features 15 breakout sessions to highlight several grassroots movements in Abbotsford.

The team has also invited leaders from both the Abbotsford Police Department and Abbotsford Senior Secondary School to speak about the tragedies they have faced over the past years.

Police Chief Mike Serr and Abby Senior principal Rob Comeau are among the presenters.

Conference chair Jory Smallenberg said, although the last conference in 2017 was on a national level, this one is focused entirely on Abbotsford.

RELATED: National character conference in Abbotsford

“It’s about what we do well and where we can leave a lasting legacy in our community for generations to come,” she said.

Keynote speakers are Barb Stegemann and Mike Smith.

Originally from Halifax, Stegemann is a celebrated social entrepreneur who has been named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.

Stegemann rose to fame following her time on Dragons’ Den, where she pitched The 7 Virtues, a perfume company that supports impoverished families in developing countries.

Smith is the founder of Skate for Change and The BAY. He is a leader in youth outreach and initiated a global youth movement which connects the homeless and skateboarding communities in over 80 cities worldwide.

“This is not your typical humdrum conference,” Smallenberg said. “It is a distinctively local event filled with inspiration, ideas, and opportunities to forge connections in our community.”

RELATED: National Character Conference pushes attendees to ponder hard questions

As in past years, fresh local food and drink will be used to emphasize Abbotsford’s culture and businesses, with vendors ranging from Restaurant62 and Lepp Farm Market to Field House Brewing.

The conference is hosted by Character Abbotsford, a non-profit organization that encourages people to define what shared values matter to them, and actively integrate them into their organizations and daily lives.

Smallenberg herself has been involved in Character Abbotsford since her time as a student at W. J. Mouat Secondary.

Currently, she is finishing her graduate degree at UBC and plans to continue investing in the community through Character Abbotsford.

Past conferences have attracted hundreds of people. This year, organizers are anticipating over 300 participants from education, business, first responders, and not-for-profit organizations.

Visit characterabbotsford.com for tickets or more information.

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