Lila Cresswell retires from the board


Lila Cresswell is clearly not afraid of change. As the adage says, it is the only constant, and as she steps down from the Skills Centre’s board of directors after 11 years, change is the theme of our conversation.

Lila joined the Skills Centre board in 2012. In 2014 she was to become secretary-treasurer, however, the two board members leading the executive committee had their jobs transferred out of the community, and at the 2015 annual general meeting it was Lila presenting the president’s report. She held that position until last year when she became past-president and Mary Lawson took over the president’s role.

All the changes and growth that she’s seen in her time with the Skills Centre is what stands out for her. The amount of change that the Skills Centre has been through has been its biggest challenge and what she is most proud of in her time on the board.

“Seeing the diversification of programs, and funding, and years of planning and work coming together. It’s absolutely amazing how the board and staff have managed it. Thank goodness we have had a good executive director and management team who have made so many positive changes,” she says.

“What’s most memorable for me is the transition that has taken place on this board. We knew we had to diversify. The board is inclusive of all things. We’re representative of more of the community now.”

She also emphasizes how impressed she is with the equity, diversity and inclusion training that the Skills Centre provides for staff, board and clients.

“It’s an amazing thing to take on,” she says, using this as an example of how the Skills Centre deals with training for its clients as part of the entire social fabric to make a better way of life for anyone.

It also reflects the optimism she has for the future of the Skills Centre and particularly its biggest project currently underway, the new building renovation.

“Seeing the building coming together is so great. It’s going to be a community hub. It’s going to be a very important part of the community. We’ll see more groups using it, more meshing of the organizations weaving together the social safety net,” she says.

And that leads to her advice for the future for the people in the organization:

“Hold the vision. Keep going forward. We have a board and staff that are not afraid of change. I’m proud to have been a part of it. It’s so nice to see these people on the board giving back and staff who are all so good at what they do. Congratulations to all of them.”