All Roads Lead to Bridges

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Aug 30, 2021 | Blog

I was always a curious and studious kid. I liked to read and imagine things and have fond memories of rainy days in Richmond: my dad building a fire, lying on the floor on a big cushion reading while my family watched tv, looking up when they flagged a good part coming, and drinking milky tea.

I also spent a lot of time on busses, commuting from the suburbs to Vancouver for elementary and senior school – which was very conducive to daydreaming and reading, too. Moving from community to community and seeing how different people lived formed many early impressions of what was possible and how many ways of structuring a life there could be.

In undergrad, I studied the history of social movements. In law school I learned about the gap between aspiration and interpretation – for legislation, contracts, families, and organisations.

After university, I got into campaign work – for development organisations, with agencies, with not-for-profits, and in politics. The work is always the same: how to share people’s stories so that decision-makers understand the impact of their work on individuals’ lives, on families’ efforts to move forward, and on organisations’ ability to thrive.

Here at Vantage Point, that work will continue. Not-for-profits in BC are both small and medium sized employers. As a sector, we employ 86,000 people across the province and contribute $6.4 billion to BC’s GDP. Our members are providing frontline services, conducting research and collecting data, providing funding to communities, and providing meaning through arts and creative industries.

Decision-makers in government are tasked with supporting British Columbians’ wellbeing. They provide leadership on initiatives that require collective action and can’t be achieved individually. Vantage Point’s members are eyes and ears on the ground in housing, community development, arts & culture, social service delivery, family support services, environmental stewardship, youth development, sports & recreation, fund development, and philanthropy.

My job as Director of Government Relations and Sector Development is to be a bridge. To bring organisations together across sub-sectors to see what they have in common, and to work alongside small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises to identify our shared goals.

I am a natural observer, story-maker, instigator, and bridge-builder. From childhood, to university, to law school, to campaigner, all roads lead to this continued work.

I’m also a person of faith. So, there’s probably a little Sunday school underpinning my career to-date:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you” – Jeremiah 29:5-6

Housing, food security, peace, and prosperity. Sounds like good social infrastructure-building to me.

Cherie Payne is Director of Government Relations and Sector Development. A graduate of McGill University and Osgoode Hall Law School, Cherie brings 20 years’ experience in communications, advocacy, and government relations for health, public interest, and education organisations. In November 2011, Cherie was elected to the Vancouver School Board and served as a vocal advocate for adequate funding of public education, urban planning that meets the needs of children & families, support for childcare and anti-poverty initiatives, and nurturing leadership in youth and young adults. Prior to her term in municipal politics, Cherie also served as Legislative Assistant to a federal Minister of Health.


Cherie Payne

Cherie is our Director of Government Relations and Sector Development. Born and raised in Vancouver, Cherie has lived in seven cities on three continents. She is a former Vancouver School Trustee and staffer to a federal health minister, and sits on the Boards of Food for the Poor Canada and Girls Club, an…

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