What Social Justice Means for Laura Winters, New CEO of Stella’s Circle in St. John’s


Laura Winters has held numerous roles in the nonprofit sector over the past decade.

In the housing and homelessness sector, she has worked in a system planning role, while studying and researching for her PhD in Sociology.

As executive director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council, she “oversaw the provision of services to women and non-binary people,” she told SaltWire Network.

But in his new role as CEO of Stella’s Circle, a St. John’s-based community organization that provides a multitude of services to vulnerable people, his decade of experience is now united under one roof.

“There is such phenomenal work going on and I am so very happy to be a part of it,” she said in a phone interview. “I am excited about the breadth of Stella’s Circle’s mandate, delighted to be back working on housing and homelessness.

“If you know someone who is trying to find affordable housing for people right now, it’s extremely difficult.

Stella’s Circle has a strategic plan, she said, part of which is increasing its housing stock from 79 to 100 units.

“It’s so important right now,” she said.

Same mission, vision, values

After only a week, it is clear to her that her values ​​are well aligned with the organization. And although this is a new job, having worked alongside the organization in the past and knowing the team there, she is confident in her new role.

In a press release from Stella’s Circle, the chairman of the board, Jasbir Gill, said he was happy to announce that Winters was the new CEO.

“Her strategic mind and passionate commitment to the organization’s mission, vision and values ​​make her the right leader for Stella’s Circle,” the press release said.

People can expect the same quality services and programs that the organization has provided for years, Winters said.

And in the foreground, people can expect the same attention to social justice.

But what does social justice mean to Winters, 35?

Social justice

“It means that people are able to meet their needs through our social systems. This means that our systems must be able to meet not only the needs of some, but also the needs of the most marginalized people in our community, ”said Winters. “And that means that as a leader of a community organization, I have to understand those needs. This means raising the voices and lived expertise of those who use the services, and raising them to advocate for change in service delivery within community organizations, but at a higher level, to advocate for service delivery. ‘a system change with our government.

This means that the voices of marginalized people will be heard, she said.

To implement social justice, it takes hard work and dedication, and not just from leaders like her, she said.

“It’s a difficult time. It’s always difficult to do this job, but it is particularly difficult at the moment, ”she said.

Winters said she had a deep respect for the hard and important work of frontline workers at Stella’s Circle and across the community sector as they continue to provide vital support to marginalized people as the province experiences a downturn. another wave of COVID-19.


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