Shay Pearson - here with her daughter, Claire - has been named a finalist for the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence award. (Submitted photo)

Shay Pearson - here with her daughter, Claire - has been named a finalist for the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence award. (Submitted photo)

PSO grad up for provincial excellence award

Shay Pearson a finalist for the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence award

A Peter Skene Ogden grad has been nominated for a Premier’s Innovation and Excellence award for her work with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Shay Pearson, who spent her teenage years in 100 Mile House and graduated from PSO in 2001, has been named a finalist in the Emerging Leader category.

Pearson is currently the operations manager of the Kamloops ministry office; prior to taking that role, she was the Director of Practice for the Thompson, Okanagan, Kamloops, Shuswap and Cariboo.

She earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Thompson Rivers University in 2006 and has been building her career with the ministry ever since.

In an online video announcing her nomination for the prestigious award, her colleagues describe Pearson as supportive, innovative and “a gift to the public service,” who strives to challenge the status quo.

For Pearson’s grandmother, Shelley Pearson, who had guardianship and custody of her granddaughter through her teen years, the nomination is “overwhelming.”

“She has done amazingly well, and we are exceedingly proud of her,” Shelley said.

During Pearson’s time at PSO, while Shelley was working at the Ministry of Human Resources, she said her granddaughter would come visit her office every day after school, and sit in the lunch room doing homework.

“The various social workers would come over from the other side of the office and she would talk to them,” Shelley recalled. “I think she was influenced to a certain degree by me working in a social work position.”

A defining moment in Pearson’s career came a few years ago when she discovered she had Metis ancestry, thanks to an aunt who had been researching the family’s background. In her nomination video, Pearson describes how the discovery of her heritage has helped to guide her work and the approach she takes with families.

“When I think about diversity and inclusion, I come from a diverse background, I am a proud Metis woman,” she said. “It’s been an opportunity for self reflection, to think about, ‘how do I want to show up in the world and how do I want to show up in my work?’”

As a parent to a seven-year-old daughter, Pearson said she also understands the complications facing many families in today’s world.

“It really brings a different perspective to the work we do with children and families,” she said.

A panel of adjudicators and judges will select the winner of the Premier’s Excellence award for Emerging Leader, which has five finalists including Pearson.

“If you’re really passionate about something, it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like a purpose,” she said.


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