Member Spotlight: Patricia Arab
Walking into an MLA office in the heart of Halifax and feeling welcomed and assured someone is willing to listen is exactly what the Fairview-Clayton Park district has. Patricia Arab is the first elected female member to serve this constituency, and has been doing so since 2013. For Patricia, this seems nothing more fitting as she grew up and flourished in the same streets she now represents.
Patricia graduated from Dalhousie University/University of Kings College with a Bachelor of Arts, followed by completing a Bachelor of Education at Mount St. Vincent University. She then proudly worked with Halifax Regional School Board as a teacher for many years, then South Shore Regional School Board once she completed her Masters of Education in counseling which was her lead to facilitate the implementation of a preventative mental health program called PATHS (promoting alternate thinking strategies). As her resume reveals, Patricia proactively involved herself with numerous initiatives focused on promoting the well-being of others.
As Patricia’s professional life was excelling, she began to feel detached from her roots and family, and was drawn to replanting her life back in the community. When her parents passed on suddenly and in a short time from each other, Patricia reflected on both their contributions within the community, particularly her mother’s. Patricia felt that her duty was to continue the support her mother gave to the community, and especially the Lebanese community; to give them a voice.
“My father always taught us that, it’s not just a “nice thing” to do for others, it’s our obligation to be a voice and advocate to give those who can’t”, Patricia passionately remembers. With the aspiration of directly helping others and providing them with a ‘voice’, Patricia decides to run for public office. The support was there and in a short thought out process she went for it. Now 3 years later, proudly looking out of her office window at the Our Lady of Lebanon Church, when someone comes to her with an issue or concern, she is confident they will be heard.
Looking forward into 2017, Patricia hopes to implement youth programs, senior programs, and solidify a community space for Fairview-Clayton Park. She aspires to create a recreational space that will encourage community growth, bonding and familiarity. Also in 2017, although it has been a constant challenge, Patricia hopes to strive for more balance in her personal life, as dedication to her constituency is priority.
For young politicians hoping to pursue a career in Halifax, Patricia suggests to “have faith in yourself”. She candidly admits that running for office is not as scary as she thought, as it is an extremely rewarding job. Although she advises that having a good support system is key. In talking about the Chamber, Patricia also adds for young professionals, “Having the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce elevates our culture and community and allows the spotlight to shine on our successes and the partnerships we have made with the community at large”.
When asked, “how has the Chamber supported you?”, Patricia proudly replies, “By validating the community I came from. I feel lucky and proud that our Lebanese community here in Nova Scotia is extremely well respected. Having the Chamber highlight all the successes, and solidify our respect, really shows our worth.”