To mark International Women’s Day, the Envision Counselling and Support Centre profiled Mayor Debra Button, a leader, role model and mentor from the Weyburn community.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was “Building Leadership Together.”
“I see so many wonderful women doing amazing things every day in our city,” says Button, who was humbled to be chosen. “I am fortunate to visit a number of organizations in our community and I see many women who volunteer with such passion for the causes they believe in. It makes it easier to push myself to do more.”
Button says passion is a prerequisite in a leader, “If you don’t believe in the cause or organization, it shows.”
Newly elected to her third term as mayor of Weyburn, Button has some perspective on what makes a leader successful.
“Hard work can never be underestimated. I think you need to really enjoy whatever you do, and when it comes right down to it, I think everyone becomes the most inspired when they are able to make a difference to the people they care about.”
Button was influenced by her parents, who both worked while she was growing up.
“I was a kid who grew up with mom and dad who both worked. As a family we had chores and responsibilities. My mom is a volunteer in this community and is always looking for a way to brighten someone’s day. If I could be half the person she is, I will call that success.”
Now Button passes that work ethic on to her own kids. She and her husband Greg have four children, and have been active foster parents for the past 10 years.
Button says she first felt like a leader and a role model the first time she adopted a child and became a “mom”. “I don’t think of myself as a leader, I see myself more as a person working to make a difference, in my family and my community.”
“I read once that you cannot change the world, and maybe that’s true, but you can change your corner of it. That’s what I try to do every day,” said Button.
Now Button will be influencing change outside of Weyburn. She was just elected president of SUMA, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association; it’s the first time for a woman to hold that position.
Aware that she is considered a role model, Button had her own inspiration in her youth. “I have always admired Isabelle Butters. She was Weyburn’s first female mayor, and she is such a dynamic woman. In my early years on council, she was the chair of the Library Board. I loved to watch her run a meeting. It started on time, every time. No fuss because you were there to get a job done. I learned a lot from her.”
Button sees herself as person with a special message for young girls. “I am often invited to visit our local schools. I always encourage girls to look beyond the traditional roles and jobs that women have often been associated with. As ‘girls’ there is nothing holding us back!”
To those who set their sights on becoming a future leader, Button does offer some insight into success. “I ask a lot of questions. I accept change is always happening, and I refuse to let fear limit me to my personal comfort zone.”
“Surround yourself with good and knowledgeable people. Make sure you have one close friend who will always tell you the truth,” said Button.
International Women’s Day was celebrated on Mar. 8. It was observed in many different countries and communities throughout the world.
Many different activities were marked by Envision during the International Women’s Day. They had a booth of information at the library, and also presented flowers to senior women in the community at Parkway Lodge.