Sara Lear tackles life with passion.
Lear works for an electrical firm in Oshawa, and when the company lost out on a bid for a contract at the City of Oshawa in what Lear sees as an unfair process, she launched herself heart, mind and soul into campaigning to become the Mayor of Oshawa.
Petite, with flowing blonde hair, a shy smile, with her quiet, reserved, conservative personality, Lear inspires instant attention with her courage, confidence, and bold commitment to her cause. Lear walks into a room full of city officials and shakers and influencers, older males and aging politicians and seasoned bureaucrats – and dares to tackle their staid uptightness.
Fearless, she stands tall among giants. After the losing business bid at the City of Oshawa, a fire enflames her heart, and she is setting out to make a defining difference.
Lear is 33 years of age, but she’s unfazed with the task at hand. Taking on a galaxy of powerful, wealthy, well-connected old males in a world that still gravitates to patriarchy, Lear commands respect wherever she shows up. Her intelligent, well-articulated, statistics-packed arguments and presentations lit up the campaign circuit in the last Municipal elections on Oshawa.
It’s the start of a political career that promises to deliver rich rewards for this city.
Yet, it started with a simple gesture from Lear’s grandmother. “My grandmother plays a vital role in my life. As a kid growing up, she was my role model, and constantly talked to me about life and taught me great principles. So on my birthday this year, when she gave me a cash gift, I thought what better tribute to her than to enroll as a candidate in the elections. I used her gift to put in my nomination papers,” Lear said.
Lear did not think about going for Councillor as a stepping stone to eventually becoming Mayor. Instead, so confident and self-grounded is she, that she went straight for the Mayor’s chair. Making a difference for society is what this is all about, and she would aim for nothing less than full power to make it happen.
When the Millionaire Mindset interviewed Lear at her office one Sunday morning, Oshawa was gearing up to vote for its next Mayor, with several Mayoral candidates campaigning with strong, vigorous, aggressive platforms. All were older males, powerful, wealthy, well-connected. Only one man was an ordinary guy. Lear was the only female among the lot, and the youngest, and the most soft-spoken.
At one Mayoral debate at the Jubilee, Lear sat at the center of the head table, with these males flanking her. It did not faze her, or stop her from stating her claim as a worthy Mayoral candidate, stating her platform with emphatic and decisive assurance. The experience left many of the male candidates, and the entire audience, impressed and dazzled with her brilliance. Oshawa’s politics had found a new face, a young voice, and a champion for good governance.
I asked Lear about how it feels to blaze this new trail. “Being Mayor is about the decision-making process. That’s my goal, to make the decisions that impact policies, projects and planning for the city. And I know to create collaboration. Working for an electrical firm, I work in a male-dominated industry. So I feel quite comfortable,” Lear said.
Yet, Lear is no ordinary electrical worker. She’s accomplished in the Arts, with experience in Drama. And Lear is a certified piano teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and could play any musical instrument, including the guitar, bass and drums – quite accomplished as a musician. At high school she majored in Music, and graduated with a Minor in Drama. Lear graduated with university degrees in Political Science and Peace Studies, and Social Justice. She’s also got a Business degree from the University of Western Ontario. And she’s a certified Executive Business Coach.
And her role model is the outstanding former Mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion.
Lear grew up in Mississauga, moving to Oshawa two years ago, where she bought a house and took up a long term employment contract with her Oshawa-based company.
Throwing herself heart and soul into her work and her life in this new city, Lear started learning the process of how this city works. Her keen mind soon discovered that something was radically wrong. “Oshawa’s procurement process is on auto-pilot, geared towards Request For Tender (RFT), or Request For Quote (RFQ) – which means lowest bid wins. So our company, a solid corporate citizen of Oshawa, bid for a job at the City, and, to my shock and consternation, we lost less than 1% of the bid price to a company from Aurora, more than an hour’s drive away from Oshawa”. Lear noted that the company won the bid because it bid lower, although the difference was less than $100. “Even the gas to drive from so far away to Oshawa to do the job would be more than $100,” Lear said.
The City refused to listen to appeals, referring queries to the procurement system.
“So we need to see that procurement system, which is flawed as it is, changed to a Request For Proposal (RFP),” Lear said, and if nobody would take on the task of making such good governance practices happen, she would. With encouragement from her family and determination to make a difference, Lear stood up and stepped into the elections arena.
Lear said, “I developed a three-point platform:
- Responsible-managed Growth. Growth and development happen with such rapid pace around us, which is good. But we must plan those developments with sensible consideration. For example, building 100 houses in an area without consideration for the increased traffic on nearroads makes no sense. With increased housing, an area may need more traffic lights, wider roads, and other services. We must plan development projects with a holistic mindset. I even question whether the City has enough staff for safety inspections. Oshawa has too many construction projects going on. I am for development, not anti-development at all. But it has to be managed responsibly. One resident called me during the campaign to complain that a construction project was going on in her street, and the developer did not even erect safety fencing around the site. I had to go there and make sure they sto
pped work until proper safety measures were in place. There’s even a case of a death and an injury on construction sites because of a lack of proper enforcement of safety in the community.
- Traffic Alleviation is another of my concern. With all the development projects going on, there’s not a holistic, comprehensive view of every aspect of community. In fact, we may have unrestrained, sub-regulated development happening. Too much development, therefore, becomes a bad thing. Yes, we need development, but we’ve got to make sure it’s managed development.
- I want to see a Mentorship program between City Hall and business owners, where engagement and communication create the space for mutual growth.
Lear said that with her experience in the construction industry, and as a Certified Executive Business Coach, there’s much in her human capital that she brings to the leadership of the City.
“Being Mayor is about asking the right questions. I believe in a coaching approach to feedback – an internal, reflective way of analysing things. I know how to make hard decisions quickly and confidently,” Lear said.
In Lear, Oshawa could be assured that a new leader of dynamic energy, keen intelligence, and courageous confidence rises to the occasion, to lead with passion. Her leadership is a great asset to the city. With youth, vigor and a keen mind, Lear promises Oshawa, Ontario and Canada a bright future, dynamic leadership, and good governance.
Lear tackles life with passion, and promises to bring that same zeal to her new role as a committed community leader.