The Salmon Arm Observer presents Thomas Briginshaw, one of 20 young community leaders recognized in Salmon Arm’s inaugural Top 20 Under 40 program.
In an unassuming office in the heart of Salmon Arm, you can find the next recipient of the Top 20 under 40 award.
Thomas Briginshaw is the president of the Shuswap Family Resource Centre and executive director of the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS).
Since assuming these roles in the past 18 month,s he has proven to be an innovator and leader during some of the most trying and uncertain times for a non-profit organization.
Briginshaw had initially moved to Salmon Arm in 2018 from London, Ont., to help launch the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre and be closer to his family. But when the pandemic hit, he was forced to look at new employment opportunities.
Since taking on his new role with LASS in June 2020, he has effectively led the organization through challenging times. LASS was forced to move their entire One-to-One reading program online and re-imagined the popular Unplug and Play program when in-person support was halted due to the pandemic.
This adaptation was enormous and not without struggle, but with Briginshaw at the helm, LASS became a leader in B.C. and delivered more than 725 hours of online tutoring.
“Willing to let go of good ideas for the ability of great ideas to take place was a critical mindset to achieve, and I am proud of everyone who overcame the many obstacles we faced along the way,” noted Briginshaw.
With eight of his last 10 years being dedicated to serving the non-profit sector, Briginshaw has been able to utilize his fund development strengths to expand funding, and in turn, services for this area. In addition to providing reading skill development and online literacy training, LASS has worked with community partner organizations and various levels of government to help people in rural areas of the Shuswap connect to the internet.
Relocating to the Shuswap has allowed Briginshaw to not only be closer to family, but to have a rewarding career without the hustle of a big city. From health services, to soccer, to swing dance classes, the area provides every him opportunity for a full and balanced life.
While innovation may drive his professional success, it is only enriched by his genuine kindness and desire to create a collaborative work culture that works for all, in a community that is easy to call home. This past year has been laborious, yet Briginshaw managed to finish writing his first novel and compiled his poetry into a standalone book, two further ways in which he will share his passion for reading and the written word with the community and beyond.
Congratulations Thomas on your achievements and thank you for your dedication to our community!
Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40 program was launched this year by Dustin Serviss, of Serviss Wealth Management, in partnership with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, to acknowledge outstanding individuals, role models, mentors and community builders over the age of 18 and under 40.
The top 20 were selected from individuals nominated by the public. For more information, visit salmonarmtop20.ca.