A passionately committed early childhood educator by profession and fierce social justice advocate by nature, Stephanie Smith became the first woman elected president of the BC General Employees’ Union—as well as the union’s first president from a sector outside of direct government—in 2014. Stephanie was acclaimed to a second term in 2017 and acclaimed again to a third term at the BCGEU’s COVID-delayed virtual convention in 2021.
Before being elected president, Stephanie spent more than a decade serving in other elected positions in the BCGEU from steward to bargaining committee chair, to local and component executive, to two terms on provincial executive—the union’s governing body between conventions—and one term as Treasurer.
Stephanie’s election, and re-election, as president is the culmination of her decades of frontline activism in the childcare and community social services sector, as well as her visionary leadership in the labour and social justice movements on issues like expanding workers’ rights and promoting unionization, equity, and inclusion in all worksites and all communities.
From the start of her activist career in the 1980s as a newly-graduated Early Childhood Educator in New Zealand, to her third term as president of one of BC’s largest unions, Stephanie has earned a reputation as a powerful voice for working people in the media as well as on government task forces, committees, and working groups. Her goal has always been to create a safe, healthy, and prosperous society the reflects the values of working people: dignity, respect, and opportunity; equity, inclusion, and justice; hope, diversity, and security.
Stephanie is a proud mom of two adult children and a grateful settler on the unceded and stolen territory of the Musqueam Nation in what is now known as Richmond, BC.
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