Charlotte Davis, President Verve Communications
Charlotte is a straight ally, long-time donor, and volunteer for the Bill 7 Award.
What’s your connection — what originally brought you into the Bill 7 Award family?
I was introduced to the Bill 7 Award when my dear friend Greg Johns (current Chair) invited me to attend the first annual awards event in 2010. As with many great causes, it’s often about who approaches you for support – but I was immediately moved and inspired by the recipient’s stories. Bill 7 Award scholarship recipients face formidable challenges and it was their strength and determination to move forward despite all the obstacles that impressed me. I witnessed what it meant for them to receive a scholarship and I was hooked.
Why do you believe in educating youth?
I’ve always had a strong sense of social justice. I spent the first seven years of my working life as a lawyer representing marginalized people – refugees, immigrants, men and women living with HIV and AIDS. Then I did a U-turn, and for a decade, I worked in arts marketing and fundraising for two national ballet schools – in Australia and Canada. You might not immediately see the link between budding professional dancers and my former clients, but the truth is those young dancers were often on the outside or going against the grain, unsupported by family members who sometimes didn’t want to understand or even actively opposed their desire to fully express who they were. For too many LGBTQ students, those feelings of isolation are magnified many fold. They deserve our support.
Why do you as a straight ally believe in supporting LGBTQ students in need?
I strongly believe in an inclusive society – in every person’s right to be who they are, to live free of discrimination and harassment, and to have the opportunity to achieve their potential. When you financially support a LGBTQ university or college student, what you’re really doing is building their confidence, opening doors, and making dreams possible.
Your most memorable Bill 7 Award moment?
Too many to recall! I always come away from an awards ceremony deeply moved and filled with hope for our society.