Kayla Jessen isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs.

Born and raised in Airdrie, the mother of two is a well-known volunteer and advocate.

She sat on the Airdrie Public Library Board for seven years and recently completed a three-year term on Marigold Regional Library’s executive committee.

Jessen is also a founding member and past president of Airdrie Pride Society, created in 2014.

In that role, Jessen has spoken out for the local LGBTQ community, challenging the discriminatory voices that exist in the area.

“I was always told that everyone is special, and everyone has a right be special,” says Jessen. “When I see someone pushed to the side, marginalized and vulnerable, it is in my nature to do something.”

Jessen’s passion for advocating for the LGBTQ community developed after watching friends and family face discrimination for their orientation.

“There is discrimination, and the voices are loud,” says Jessen. “We wanted to create a positive place that is louder and can drown out those voices.”

Airdrie Pride Society holds numerous events in support of the LGBTQ community and their advocates.

Robbie White is proud of his wife.

“Kayla is very social-justice minded,” he says. “She saw something that was missing in Airdrie and set her mind to creating it. She has a vision for what [Airdrie] was and what it could be.”