Lisa Helps

Study program:
Mayor, City of Victoria

Lisa is the mayor of Victoria, in British Columbia.

Not satisfied with the disjuncture between the so-called ivory tower and the rest of the world, Lisa Helps spends much of her time as a community activist committed to place-based solutions to global and national challenges, and increasing citizen engagement. She was Councilor for the City of Victoria and Executive Director of the Community Micro Lending Society ( in Victoria, British Columbia, and was elected Mayor of the city of Victoria on 15 November 2014. She also sits on the Program Committee of Leadership Victoria, a local organization that runs a multi-sector community leadership program. She was Chair of the Board of Directors of Fernwood NRG, a neighbourhood organization, when the Society purchased and restored a run down building in the heart of the neighbourhood, built affordable housing units, and opened the Cornerstone Café as an enterprising non-profit venture. She has also served as chair of the Bread and Roses Collective, which produces the monthly Victoria Street Newz.

Experience as a Trudeau Scholar

To me the Trudeau Scholarship has been about much more than the money scholars are allocated. The generous scholarship and in particular the research and travel allowance has enabled me to do in depth on the ground research in two different cities in two nations. Yet it is the people, the access to such fine minds, to such committed and dedicated social, political, and artistic actors that have mattered more. My experience of being a Trudeau scholar is that I have felt intellectually stimulated and deeply engaged. How?  Being a Trudeau scholar has provoked the realization that academic disciplines are an impoverished means of categorizing people and their work when that work is put in the service of communities beyond the academy.  The Foundation – and the members of the Trudeau community – have created a space where the disciplines we come from as Scholars and Fellows are secondary to the reason that we’ve all been gathered together in the first place: to ensure that ideas generated and disseminated within academia reach a wider audience for their full potential – as propellants of meaningful action – to be realized


  • October 27, 2019
    As part of Women’s History Month, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is presenting snapshots of women in our community and the significant impact they have in their communities and institutions. Connecting neighborhoods Inspired by the local community in Victoria, Lisa Helps has worked with others to create a non-profit organization that empowers small businesses and individuals. She is the mayor of Victoria, British Columbia, and co-president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Alumni Network Executive Committee.

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