Alumnae Achievement Award Winner 16
Leigh Boyle ’05
Community, whether local or international, has always been at the heart of Leigh Boyle’s passions. The fundraiser, philanthropist, and former Head Girl, Leigh Boyle ’05, received the Crofton House School Alumnae Association’s 2016 Alumnae Achievement Award at the School’s 118th birthday Assembly on March 4, for her outstanding commitment to philanthropic endeavours.
After graduating in communications at Trinity Western University, eager and idealistic, and “yearning to find out more about the world”, Boyle spent 2.5 years working for non-profits in Swaziland and northern Ethiopia. In Ethiopia she was isolated by geography, language and lack of technology, Leigh sought to find a place for herself in the community she was living in. She began doing manicures for patients at a local hospital. An act as simple as painting their nails and giving the women - some who were only just teenagers - a hand massage, became a profound and joyful way of connecting and creating community.
On returning to Vancouver, she witnessed the passing of the mother of a family friend. In palliative care, the mother requested a manicure. Leigh understood what this meant and how this simple request would bring dignity and beauty to last days of her life. Deeply touched by the experience, she decided to bring the compassion she had learnt on her travels back to her local community. And so began the Lipstick Project.
The project has evolved into a full-fledged local non-profit. During the day, Leigh has been pursuing a career as a philanthropic consultant, recently launching a company, Fawkes & Holly, with her business partner, Janet. Together, Leigh and Janet help small charities build efficient, effective fundraising programs that allow them to grow. After hours, she directs her energy into her role as the Lipstick Project’s Executive Director alongside the Director of Community Partnerships and fellow CHS Alumnae, Holly Chan ’01. The Lipstick Project works with seven organizations in the Lower Mainland, including North Shore Hospice, Ronald McDonald House, Camp Goodtimes, and Canuck Place providing free professional and therapeutic spa services to patients approaching the end of their lives. Since it launched in 2013, the Lipstick Project has delivered more than 1,000 hours of professional services to over 500 clients in the Vancouver area.
Holly and Leigh met each other after graduating from school. “We had an instant connection and trust which I find typical of the CHS Alumnae. Some of the most meaningful relationships I have built are through the alumnae. The network is real, and I am enthused by the support I get for the Lipstick Project from this community, including creating a partnership and friendship with Holly.”
In her CHS Alumnae Achievement Award acceptance speech Leigh said: “Crofton House School imprints you with an awareness to be kind and compassionate, to be ambitious and creative, and to consider each day the ways you can help those around you. The school has been an essential part of the Lipstick Project’s development as it was here that many of us learned how to be good citizens. How to be people who care about their friends, families and community.”
CHS also taught Leigh how to learn, to ask questions and be curious. “We were not allowed to quit,” she says. “This stood me in good stead in my professional life. Instead of quitting we were encouraged to find solutions and to work as a team. We were taught that if we don’t like a subject or are not good at a particular task, you can still find a way to do it and do it well. The expectation was that you try your best. Success was the willingness to reach your personal best. In life, you are not going to be good at everything, and to think that you are, is setting yourself up for disappointment.”
Sport played a big part in her school career, and she stills plays weekly recreational volleyball with Lesley Cuddington ’05, her co-captain from the CHS volleyball team. “I found an instant sense of belonging on the sports field. It taught me leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and how to have a lot of fun. I am not sure I would have thrown myself into athletics in the same way if I was not at an all-girls school.” It was at CHS that Leigh first stepped into a leadership role as Head Girl. “CHS was a safe place to find my voice,” says Leigh.
Leigh’s leadership qualities and credentials continue to grow. In 2015, she was a BCBusiness 30 Under 30 Winner and is currently pursuing an MBA at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. The CHS community is excited to be alongside Leigh as she continues to carve out her life’s path. Her message to CHS Alumnae is: “I am honoured to be a recipient of the 2016 Alumnae Achievement Award. For all of us, it is about embracing the values that come from this community. CHS shaped all of us in our formative years, for the better. We were privileged to be here.”