Howard McCurdy

Howard McCurdy and Rachel Decoste

Former MP and NDP Leadership Candidate, Howard McCurdy

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Rachel Décoste is a motivational speaker and software engineer who grew up in Orléans. She was born and raised in Ottawa and moved with her family to Orléans in 1981. She is fluently trilingual (French, English and Spanish) and holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from the University of Guelph.

Ms. Décoste is proud to have grown up in Ottawa/Orléans, which she sees as a community of communities including people from many different walks of life and backgrounds. She grew up among many of these communities and is remarkably reflective of the diversity of her riding. Ms. Décoste, a daughter of immigrant parents, was raised in a Francophone household and attended French schools; however, she was involved in both English and French community groups and attended an English university.

Ms. Décoste, a published poet, has been a community activist since her youth, engaging in letter-writing campaigns to push for change in issues close to her heart: working with the Children's Aid Society to mentor foster children, volunteering to assist in the care of seniors at a local residence, and participating in the community effort to save the Montfort Hospital, among many other activities.

Ms. Décoste received a Volunteer Appreciation Award for her efforts with the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund and was involved with the Famous 5 Foundation's inaugural year in Ottawa. Her commitment has not been limited to local activities: she has traveled abroad to provide aid to people in need in Peru and Bolivia and helped with a drive to send literature to a library in Haiti.

Ms. Décoste was named in Ottawa's Top 50 Personalities in Ottawa Life Magazine's 2010 annual edition, after holding Ottawa's first post-Haiti quake fundraiser less than 2 days after the devastating natural disaster, and also leveraged her rolladex to raise funds to increase diversity in Ottawa City Hall council and encouraging 4 notable city council candidates. Ms. Décoste has continued and increased her involvement with the Childrens' Aid Society, becoming a guardian and mentor to several children.

Ms. Décoste is currently enrolled in a Masters program at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Administration at The George Washington Univeristy in Washington, DC.