07 May 30Network Snapshots – Alex Yallouz
Meet Alex: The Engaged and Thoughtful Storyteller
Alex exemplifies the skills and knowledge that youth need today to be critically engaged and connected with their communities. She exudes passion and energy for bringing communities together and amplifying citizen concerns.
“To me, civic engagement is based on individual narratives, and the emphasis placed on sharing only certain stories in these spaces,” says Alex, “I believe a big part of engaging youth is engaging in their language, which means adjusting the forms of audience engagement.”
Alex was drawn to the 30Network because she believes that this program fills a gap in Metro Vancouver and proves opportunities for youth representation. She saw the 30Network as a chance to “be a part of a group that can contribute to changing the conversation”.
In Alex’s opinion, the biggest challenge currently facing millennials in engaging in their communities is a lack of presence. “A lot of youth in Metro Vancouver can’t name a local councillor. Yet they are well-versed in the “sexier” issues like pipelines and voter reform. I’m not saying these are not critical issues, but people don’t understand that municipal governments actually affect your day-to-day the most.” She speculates that this is because people don’t know where to get that information because it is not well-distributed or communicated through their platforms.
Alex’s first taste of civic engagement was through the lens of the business community; for five years, she worked with the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. She believes that it is important to engage youth in city-shaping because cities are for everyone, “Cities are made up of people from all walks of life and we need representation from every community to create healthy, inclusive and vibrant cities. Youth are our future leaders, why not start engaging and empowering them now?”
One of Alex’s favourite neighbourhoods is the Lower Lonsdale Shipyards District, “It has this really unique small-town feel and sense of community belonging. It has changed so much over the years; it went from a place my parents told tell me to avoid to a place that is vibrant and so full of life.”
Alex is a full-time marketing and communications professional and is currently working on her Masters in Communication and Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. Her main area of academic interest lies “in the relationship between technology, communication, and cognition. How do communication technologies affect the way we process, consume, and internalize information? How do they affect the (developing) brain?” She is also interested in the effects of communications tech on macro-culture, groupthink, and mass opinion; specifically, how it relates to decision making and the democratic process.
Outside of her busy schedule, Alex volunteers for BC Hockey, to encourage female hockey skills development at a grassroots level.
If mayor for a day, the first thing Alex would do is “talk to the citizens who aren’t currently being heard”. This means lowering the barriers that currently exist for people to attend Council meetings, as well as actually getting out and talking to people outside of the traditional engagement bubble.
Alex’s energy and passion for her work is inspiring. We are excited to have this incredible leader as one of our 30 this year!
Written by Claire Crowther of CityHive