Lana Downer-Arispe is all about diversity and celebrating cultures from around the world.
It all started when she emigrated to Canada as a teenager.
“I come from a very small town in Croatia, on the border of Hungary. I was 16 years old when I moved here after the war. The moment I came to Canada, I loved it. The people here are so friendly, welcoming, and diverse. I didn’t feel like an outsider; I felt like part of the group,” she explains.
Around the World
Since moving to Canada and having children, Lana has made sure to give her kids opportunities to learn about other cultures.
“My husband and I are from different cultures,” she says. “I’m from Croatia, and he’s from Panama. But we want to show our kids more cultures as well, so we host international students. We’ve had students from Spain, Italy, and China, and we’re hosting a student from Belgium right now.”
Lana’s experience also inspired her to join the Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex. “I really like working with the public as a volunteer for the Multicultural Council in Windsor, especially with people who’ve moved here from other countries, because I know what it’s like. It’s hard enough leaving your home, so I’ve been happy to be able to help make things a little bit easier for some people,” she says.
Jumping into Action
As the Site Logistics Coordinator for Belle River Wind and North Kent Wind, Lana has had the chance to help others in times of need, particularly this year with Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
“I went through a war when I was in Croatia. We used to have to hide in a cellar, and sometimes we wouldn’t come out for days, so the war in Ukraine has really touched me because I’ve been through that before,” she explains.
When she saw what was happening on the news, she immediately wanted to help.
“We reached out to the London Ukrainian Centre because it’s the closest one to us, and they also support Windsor and Chatham. We asked them how we could help, and they told us they needed medical equipment, baby items, and other supplies. So we went out and bought what we could and drove it to them,” she says.
Home Away From Home
Lana enjoys traveling, dancing, and listening to music in her spare time.
“I’m looking forward to taking a trip to Croatia with my family. I haven’t seen my friends and family in a long time. The last time I was there was in 2018,” she says.
Though she misses her family, she’s made strong connections in the area.
“We don’t have much family here, so we like to get really involved with friends in the community. So we’ve kind of made a family from our friend group,” she explains.
That also includes her Croatian dance group.
“I’m a music person. I love dancing. It doesn’t matter what kind of music: Italian dinner music, French café music, Latin music, I’ll listen to anything. It makes my soul move,” she says.
A Tight-Knit Team
When it comes to work, she’s made some great connections there as well.
“I love my team at both sites. They’re so great, making it fun to come to work. It’s also nice to see how the landowners at both sites tend to know each other as well. It reminds me how small and close our communities are,” she says.
She also appreciates what Pattern does for communities.
“When I started at Pattern, I didn’t know much about renewable energy. But, the experience has opened my eyes to the world my kids are growing up in and the knowledge I can give them. Pattern is also one of the most amazing companies when it comes to diversity and inclusivity, and I’m so proud to work for a company like this,” she says.