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Sylvia Cheuy

Sylvia Cheuy
Sylvia is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Collective Impact Idea Area and also supports Tamarack’s Community Engagement Idea Area. She is passionate about community change and what becomes possible when residents and various sector leaders share an aspirational vision for their future. Sylvia believes that when the assets of residents and community are recognized and connected they become powerful drivers of community change. Sylvia is an internationally recognized community-builder and trainer. Over the past five years, much of Sylvia’s work has focused on building awareness and capacity in the areas of Collective Impact and Community Engagement throughout North America.

Recent Posts

Investing to Create a Network of Community Change Agents - A Case Study

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on March 2, 2018

For more than 100 years, the Lehigh Valley, a metropolitan region in northeastern Pennsylvania, was renown as an industrial powerhouse, and manufacturers like Bethlehem Steel, Mack Truck and Coplay Portland Cement were its heart.  But by the 1980's, these industries had closed, moved out of the region or were downsized due to national and global competition.  The urban areas- Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton- went into a sharp economic decline, which lasted for nearly three decades.

By 2014 however, the city of Allentown was gaining global recognition for its “innovative, forward-looking approach to design and development.” The economic renaissance of Allentown is a testament to the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of its ancestors.  The establishment of a Neighbourhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) in Allentown’s downtown core was the spark that launched the city’s economic revitalization, which has included: a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena, several office towers, restaurants, green spaces, restored historic buildings as well as residential and retail spaces.  Downtown Allentown is now “a regional centre of excellence for business, culture and metropolitan living."  In 2011 only 9,000 people worked downtown but by 2018, that number had grown to 16,000.

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Trust: An Essential Ingredient in Authentic Community Engagement

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on February 12, 2018

I recently had the privilege to travel across Ontario to facilitate five workshops exploring an essential ingredient of community change: authentic community engagement.  Participants at each session identified community engagement challenges that were “top of mind” for them.   Common themes included:  finding adequate resources for engagement; needing to address diverse audiences and/or span vast geographies; retaining engagement once it had been initiated; and, a need for more capacity-building in this area.  A root community engagement challenge that surfaced was that residents and communities are often unwilling or, at best, reluctant to participate in organizationally-led engagement efforts. 

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Fostering Connection, Sharing Stories, and Creating Community

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on July 6, 2017

“People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.”

- Elie Wiesel

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to learn, and be inspired by, examples that illustrate how powerful the simple act of engaging in heart-felt conversation and listening can be when it is is rooted in compassion and curiosity.

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Berrett-Koehler Birthday Book Sale July 10–16!

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on July 6, 2017

Since it’s release in 2015, Paul Born’s book, Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times has become a national best-seller.  As growing levels of loneliness and isolation are reported amongst people of all ages across the country, the need to discover new ways to foster connection between neighbours has never been greater. 

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Why Citizens Should Prepare for Emergencies and How to Do It

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on June 21, 2017

Most Canadian Municipalities have emergency preparedness plans in place that detail how various departments and staff will work together to respond in the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather event.  

Citizens and neighbours can always be relied on to help one another during these times as well, however, this capacity could be significantly enhanced if neighbours -- like municipalities -- created opportunities to know one another and proactively develop plans.

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Montréal: A Leader in Neighbourhood Innovation

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on May 9, 2017

Montréal is the second largest city in Canada. Throughout its 375-year history,

Montréal has experienced several transformations.  Multiple waves of immigration have contributed to making Montréal one of the most diverse Canadian cities and a model of bilingualism and tolerance. 
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