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Here for Our Community: Emily Cowan

March 8, 2021

Every day hundreds of people work behind the scenes to keep Prince Edward County running. We are profiling a few of the people that are ‘here for our community.’

We continue the series by talking with Emily Cowan, Community Programs Supervisor. 

Emily stands in front of Shire Hall municipal building on a winter day.  She is wearing a coat and scarf and is smiling at the camera.
“I just really like the endless variety and the challenge that comes with working for a municipality.”

Can you start by giving an overview of your job?

My job is very… varied! I work with a lot of community groups on projects where The County is a partner. I work on social issues, and do a lot of grant writing for the municipality. I administer contracts and agreements that we have with partners and my team works on policy – quite a bit right now. It’s usually something new every day.

My days right now involve talking with The County Foundation about our community grants program, working on a draft of the Cycling Master Plan making sure all of the departments have given their input before it goes back to the consultants. I’m working on several grant applications for the municipality, and my team is working on policies and by-laws that are coming before Council soon. We’re organizing public consultations and inventorying municipal property… There’s always a lot going on. Lots of plates that are spinning at the same time, but it’s really challenging in a good way.

How long have you worked with The County?

I started here in October 2018, so just over two years.

What do you like most about the job and working for The County?

My favourite part of my job is working with a wide variety of people. I get to work with many volunteers which is great. But I also get to work with people who work for The County in different departments. I’m still meeting people who work for the same organization that I do, two years later. I like understanding what their jobs are and what their roles are, and I find that really fulfilling. I just really like the endless variety and the challenge that comes with working for a municipality.

Emily stands in front of a chalk wall with a map and a banner that says "The County". She is holding a file folder and smiling at the camera.
“I’m one of those people who lived here until high school, and once I graduated I left for 15 years, came back and I’m so glad that I did.”

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

It has been amazing to be able to work at home; I feel grateful to be able to continue working in this way. But I really miss the rapport with my colleagues. You just learn more about the municipality and the people who work there and the projects that are going on when you’re talking with people around the proverbial water cooler. It’s harder to do that at home, although we certainly try.

I used to think that I didn’t like sitting in meetings for long periods of time. But I do miss sitting in meetings for long periods of time! Looking at people’s faces, seeing their reactions, being able to have a bit of banter. I look forward to a time when we can meet in person again. It’s really important for my job.

 

What do you enjoy most about The County?

I love living in The County. I’m one of those people who lived here until high school, and once I graduated I left for 15 years, came back and I’m so glad that I did. There’s no place on earth I’d rather be. A lot of my old friends are here and I’ve met some amazing new friends. We know that The County is special – and special has its challenges, but it’s worth figuring out the challenges to be able to live and work in a place like this.

Emily leans on her desk reading a report. There is a phone on her desk and a sign that says "Grant writing in progress" on the wall beside her.
“I look forward to a time when we can meet in person again. It’s really important for my job.”

How do you get involved in the community?

As a volunteer, I am currently the Chair of the Alternatives for Women board of directors. It’s an amazing organization that supports women experiencing domestic violence and their children in our community. It’s an organization that we wish didn’t have to exist, but are grateful that it does, and it works very hard. I’m also a volunteer on the County Clippers minor basketball association executive. I’m looking forward to getting kids back in some gyms playing basketball soon! It’s a great group of volunteers and I really enjoy working with them.

 

Click to read all of the Here for our Community Profiles.

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