Chad Bean: Championing community unity and advocacy
Chad Bean, the dynamic Director of the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ), has become a pivotal figure in championing the English-Speaking Community (ESC) of West Quebec. His journey and efforts are a testament to the power of dedication and the profound impact of community leadership.
Bean's connection to the ESC is deeply personal. "My history with the ESC dates back many years. I grew up in North Hatley, a small town in the Eastern townships," he recalls. This early exposure to a community living in linguistic duality shaped his understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity.
Bean's passion for community engagement was rooted in his early life, enriched by the linguistic diversity around him. "In Sherbrooke, where I grew up and played sports, I saw how English and French-speaking communities could be more than just neighbors; they could be allies and supporters," he reflects. His grandparents, who were deeply committed to community volunteerism, further instilled in him the values of cultural harmony and collaboration.
This commitment to community deepened significantly during his time at the Bishop's Forum at Bishop's University. "There, I connected with Sylvia Martin-Laforge and Rita Legault from the QCGN (Quebec Community Groups Network), which eventually led me to meet Arthur Ayers, the then-President of RAWQ," Bean notes. These pivotal meetings inspired his return to Quebec, driven by a vision to unite the 'two solitudes' - Francophone and Anglophone communities - through collaborative governance and mutual understanding.
At RAWQ, Bean emphasizes collaborative achievements. "Achievements are never done individually but through teamwork and cooperation," he states. He highlights a significant moment with RAWQ's Rights and Advocacy Committee, which successfully campaigned against tuition hikes for out-of-province students, showcasing RAWQ's influential role in community advocacy.
On a personal note, Bean finds his role at RAWQ deeply impactful. "Being part of RAWQ has given me a sense of hope and encouragement to see how an organization can have such a deep and meaningful impact on a community," he reflects. His involvement has increased his awareness of the community's diverse needs and strengths.
Bean's approach to community service is guided by a philosophy of prioritizing community needs and empowering voices. "When you serve over 1,150 members, you're representing 1,150 voices," he asserts, underscoring the importance of collective action and partnership for sustainable change.
Juggling multiple roles, Bean also serves on the board of the Quebec Community Groups Network and is a co-founder of a fundraiser for the Albert MacDonald Scholarship. He manages these commitments through effective time management and adaptability, balancing professional responsibilities with personal pursuits.
Bean's efforts at RAWQ have significantly influenced the community, especially in advocacy. "Based on our shared statements on social media relating to the CAQ’s tuition hikes, our members were notified and took action," he says, illustrating the power of community mobilization.
For individuals eager to make a positive impact in their community, Bean offers valuable advice: "Be visible, stay engaged, and actively listen to the community around you. Remember, starting small can lead to big changes; making a difference doesn't always require grand gestures." He stresses the significance of comprehending the community's needs, the power of collaboration, the necessity of empowering others to drive change, and the importance of recognizing and celebrating successes along the way.
Among RAWQ's various initiatives, Bean is particularly passionate about their French courses. "The French courses demonstrate our commitment and allyship to the two solitudes in our province," he notes, highlighting the project's significance in fostering a healthy English-speaking community within a diverse Quebec.
Chad Bean's leadership at RAWQ exemplifies the profound influence one can have in bridging cultural and linguistic divides. Through his dedication, Bean has not only strengthened the ESC but has also set an inspiring example of what can be achieved through community engagement and advocacy.
Photo caption: Chad Bean, Director of the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ), actively engages in community advocacy and unifies diverse linguistic groups in West Quebec.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Chad Bean.