Getting to Know Your Leaders: Sharps plans to lead with her strong work ethic

·3 min read

Shila Sharps, one of six new city councillors, is ready to take on the challenges ahead.

Sharps, a self-proclaimed workaholic, was born in Medicine Hat and stayed until she was seven. In the following years, Sharps says her family lived in several different small towns across Alberta. She returned to Medicine Hat during her teen years and has been here, besides a short stint in Europe, ever since.

“I really love to work and travel. I work hard so I can take weeks off at a time and go travel,” said Sharps.

She also loves to take advantage of the local golf courses.

“I’m an avid golfer. I go four to five days a week in the summer and then I pout all winter,” she laughed. “We have beautiful golf courses here and they’re so well run, we’re very lucky.”

Sharps worked as the human resources director for Wittke, the largest garbage truck manufacturing plant in Medicine Hat until it closed in 2004.

“When I was working for Wittke I was in charge of all their movement between engineers between the U.S., Canada, China and India,” explained Sharps. “Eventually they paid for me to go back to university and do my immigration, so I thought I’d do something with that.”

She now runs HR Solutions and Sharp Immigration, two separate companies, located downtown.

Over the last two elections, Sharps said she has been learning more about the downtown association and asking more questions.

“There’s only so long you can sit downtown and complain about it and not be part of the solution. Eventually you’ve got to get off your butt and do something,” said Sharps. “Sometimes I’d get answers (to questions), but it was like pulling teeth and that drives me crazy. I don’t know how easy it is to fix but we have to try.”

She told the News she also wanted to run to increase transparency at the city. Sharps says some matters discussed in council are kept private but hopes the majority of matters can be made public.

Sharps said she noticed city councillors do a “really good job three months before election, so I want to hold the mentality that we’re going to do that throughout the next four years.”

One of the ways Sharps hopes to increase engagement is by trying out town hall meetings and encouraging more citizens to attend town council meetings.

“We need to fill that council chamber for two reasons. No. 1 it educates people, it gets them involved and maybe we’ll get some even younger people running, which would be fantastic,” said Sharps. “No. 2, it keeps council accountable.”

Sharps is excited to get started and receive her assignments from mayor elect Linnsie Clark.

“The women that got elected, we really have to hit the ground running, but we’re all ready. We’ve got this, we’re going to come in and help each other,” said Sharps. “This is about the city, not about us.”

LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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