Anchored Here: Desirée Dupuis
You think you're busy? Try keeping up with Desirée Dupuis. She runs a successful insurance company in Port Moody along with local charity, Ruben's Shoes. When she isn't giving advice on how to best protect your family, income, home, business, or employees, she is collecting donations and sending shipping containers of shoes across the world! Desirée is a problem solver with a big heart, and inspired us when we heard her story.
Ten years ago, Desirée and her best friend, Kelly, started Three Sixty Financial Group. After being in a car accident together at the age of 18, they experienced the complexities of dealing with health insurance packages, and wanted to make the process better for their clients. In 2013, as though one business wasn't enough, Desirée and Kelly started registered charity, Ruben's Shoes. This pair of best friends have been through A LOT together.
Ruben's Shoes came to life after Kelly met her long-time sponsor child, Ruben, in Dominican Republic. Kelly had sponsored Ruben since he was just three years old. Desirée even remembers the old photographs of him that Kelly kept on her fridge throughout their childhood. Eventually, Kelly went to Dominican Republic, deciding to visit Ruben for the first time. During this trip, she learned that kids can't go to school without shoes, and reported this back to Desirée. "An easy problem to solve," Desirée told us. Once Kelly returned from the Dominican, the pair decided to start asking their friends and families to donate gently used shoes, starting Ruben's Shoes. Within six months, Ruben's Shoes collected more than 12,000 pairs of shoes to send to Ruben in the Dominican Republic. Desirée and Kelly have sent shipping containers full of shoes every year since, donating well over 60,000 shoes to the cause. Now, Ruben's Shoes is expanding to Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Nicaragua.
Desirée grew up in a small town, so it's no surprise she ended up back in a smaller city like Port Moody. After completing her business degree at UVIC, she gave bigger cities a try, living in Montreal for a bit before returning to Vancouver to be closer to family. She lived in Downtown Vancouver for a few years then decided she needed to get out of the City. She finally moved to Port Moody in 2010 and has fallen more in love with Port Moody each year.
We sat down with Desirée to learn more about where her passion for her local - and global - community comes from and why she's anchored here.
1. How do you contribute to the social development of Port Moody?
"Over the years, I have been involved in the community in various ways. I have volunteered with the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, and have been on the board of directors for the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce with the intention of helping to support economic development and the success of local business. My business partner and I ran a monthly networking event in Port Moody called Think Thursdays, which created a space for local business owners to come together, connect and collaborate. And now, we run a local charity called Ruben's Shoes, which educates our local youth about giving and empowers them to find simple ways to help others."
2. What values should we stand for as a community?
"I believe that we should stand for kindness and inclusiveness."
3. Describe the most authentic moment you have witnessed while living here:
"Everyday I see acts of authentic kindness. I see people offering to help open doors or help to carry extra bags of groceries when someone appears to be struggling."
4. What kind of legacy do you intend to leave?
"I intend to leave a legacy of social impact. To help raise the world to a kinder place where every life is valued and judgement is few and far between."
5. What anchors you here?
"The community. The people. The ocean, mountains, and lakes. The small town feel. I love walking to Suterbrook to get groceries, stopping by to see my chiropractor and running into friends and clients. Port Moody is a very friendly town, and it feels good to live here - like a constant ray of sunshine."