Sylvie Davey is a personal support worker (PSW) at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas, where she’s worked for the past 15 years. It’s a job that means a lot to her.
“Being a PSW means caring for people, mostly seniors, who can no longer care for themselves. I always look at us as these resident’s extended family, especially since so many don’t have frequent visitors.”
Sylvie has also been the chief steward at her workplace for the past 12 years. Her union involvement started off small, first by becoming a steward and then by gradually getting involved in more and more union events, including the Leadership Academy. For Sylvie, it’s all about making an impact.
“I’m always someone who goes the extra mile and makes the extra effort; If I don’t do it, I don’t know if it will be done right. I am always trying to learn more so that I can achieve more. I love having all the answers and being the person that others come to when they need them.”
One of the motivations Sylvie uses to help others is her own personal story. When she was young, Sylvie experienced sexual violence, but when she came forward with what had happened, her father didn’t believe her.
“Those who go experience domestic and sexual violence need people they can come to and lean on. I want to increase my training in this area and become a strong support for my friends, coworkers, fellow union members and anyone else who may need someone to talk to or help them.”
As a woman in Canada, Sylvie still sees a lot of her peers struggling, especially those of different nationalities. As a member of SEIU Healthcare’s Women’s Committee, she hopes to be part of a movement that corrects that.
“As women, we need to find our strength and continue pushing forward for positive changes. We also need to be the role models that young women and girls can look up to. We are all daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends. Our youth are paying attention to what we are doing, so we have to make sure we are doing the right things for them.”
One of the women that Sylvie has looked up to since becoming involved with her union is SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart.
“The first time I ever did anything with the union was at a hotel in Markham. Sharleen got up on stage and spoke, and wow, I was so inspired; her words brought me to tears. She empowered me, and I instantly wanted to get more involved.”
Inspired by Sharleen and many other of her union sisters, Sylvie is ready to make an impact and be a positive role model for future generations.
“I have two teenage daughters and one son; they are the driving force for everything I do. I want to keep learning and growing so that I can pass that all down to them. The more our next generations knows, the more successful they will be, and it’s up to us to lead and teach them.”