A familiar face on the Williams Lake City Council is Sue Zacharias, but after 10 years on council, and three years as a director for the Cariboo Regional District, the successful business woman is retiring from elected public service.
“I feel it’s good timing at this stage of my life to be moving on and just having a choice in what I want to do in my life. At 69 I’m looking at different things I want to get done.”
She is hoping to use her experience to volunteer with committees and do a different side of the work, but also take time to be a grandmother.
“My motivation to get involved was a lot to do with my children and my grandchildren, who live here,” she says.
Zacharias also runs United Concrete with her husband.
“I wanted to help shape the destiny of our community,” she says.
“I would love for Williams Lake to be that kind of energetic and prosperous city where our kids and grandkids can choose to come back and raise a family here.”
Now, she’s looking at other ways she can give back.
“There’s a time-sensitive feeling about what more I can do with my life. I’ve thought a lot about how quickly the time has gone by, how great our community is and how well it’s pulled together through so many different situations.”
Zacharias was born and raised in North Vancouver, but moved to the Cariboo with her husband in 1971, four years after graduating.
She was one of the first saleswomen in B.C. at Cariboo GM in the early 90s, and has since served on the BC Construction Association Provincial Board. She’s particularly proud of being part of the new renovated pool complex.
“I don’t call it political life, I call it community service.”
While she has circled in some male-dominated spheres, she says it comes down to being ready to face whatever is thrown at you.
“It really comes down to us as women being prepared and confident and working on ourselves.”
She says she’s learned to take control of a situation, no matter who she is talking to.
“The more I was confident and studied the issues that I was about to speak on or embark on, it wouldn’t matter how I was treated. It was about how I was confident enough to respond and make a difference in that area,” she says.
“And gosh, there have been lots of people who help you along the way, so accepting advice or direction from others who are older and wiser has been key for me too.”
Williams Lake has grown in the 13 years she’s been in politics.
“I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, but I’ve been thinking about how many good community pieces have been put in place.”