Being the project lead for FEED (Food, Environment and Economic Development) Comox Valley is only one item in a long list of credentials for Sandra Hamilton.
While living in the United Kingdom, Hamilton had been sales manager for a newspaper group. After emigrating to Canada, she had been marketing director at the Vancouver Sun newspaper before owning and publishing BC Women’s Magazine. She was always looking for interesting women to feature on the cover. One was Olympic rower Silken Laumann, for whom Hamilton became business manager. The partnership launched a career helping Olympians transition into business following a sports career.
As a communications consultant, Hamilton was also part of the committee that put in a successful bid that brought the Olympics to Vancouver in 2010.
She will shortly become the first Canadian to graduate with an executive MBA in social enterprise leadership.
“I love marketing, love coming up with innovative solutions and love living rurally,” said Hamilton, who grew up in north Wales. “So beach in front of me, mountains behind me, which is why Comox I think is really home away from home.”
Hamilton’s parents now reside in Cheshire in South Manchester, where she attended high school and was “raised by a newspaper family.
“I ran a news agency in England. I launched a local newspaper in 1988.”
Journalism was something she came by honestly. Her father, Reginald Jones, had been the crime reporter for the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror.
“In those days he’d have to file his stories from a public telephone.”
Though living in Manchester, Hamilton and her family members were fans of Liverpool Football (soccer) Club, for which her cousin, Joey Jones, had played in the ’70s.
“(Soccer legend) George Best lived about 500 yards from where I grew up.”
But field hockey was her sport.
“I played for Cheshire,” said Hamilton, who became a kayak guide after emigrating to Canada in 1989.
She had lived in Vancouver and Pender Island (not to be confused with Pender Harbour) before moving to the Comox Valley in 2008.
A mother of two teenagers, she chose to raise her children on Pender, where Hamilton learned about volunteerism and what a small community is capable of accomplishing. She served as treasurer for the community hall and president of the child care centre, helped start a parents co-op and raised funds to save Brooks Point.
“I learned a lot about building community on Pender Island. If you can dream it, you can make it happen.”