Elke Porter lived in 4 different countries by the time she was 25. She grew up bilingual, speaking mostly German and English and participated in a student exchange in Germany while she was a high school student. At 15, she moved to California for a year.
Porter then moved to Vancouver just in time for Expo ’86 and, just like then, continues to enjoy the benefits of multiculturalism in a city filled with an ethnically and linguistically diverse population. After high school, Porter earned a diploma in Early Childhood Education with a Special Needs component. In Richmond, Porter joined the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia, and was on the board of the newsletter committee for a year. When she moved to Australia, she received a job as Authorized Supervisor in a German Preschool, teaching Australians of varying backgrounds basic German.
Back in Vancouver Porter earned another diploma in print & web design. After working in the area of communications, she earned a certificate in public relations through SFU Harbour Centre. Other self-help courses in her repertoire include event planning, journalism, acting & public speaking.She volunteered with her children’s Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) both in elementary school and high school. Porter was on the executive for 3 years as a Communications Consultant and was then voted in as Chair.
As part of her event planning course, Porter organized a lantern festival for the German community that was held in the Vancouver Aquarium. As part of the PAC, she organized a multicultural fashion show, a lantern parade, a dance for the talent show and helped Prince of Wales with their first ever Multicultural Fair that was held around the “Lunar New Year” two years in a row. As a member of the European Festival, Porter also represented Germany – on stage, at the booth and in the flag parade.
Other volunteer or short-term jobs included a stint with the Recycling Council, working with a developer of retirement residences, helping a charity clean the plastics from the ocean, starting a student-run newsletter with a group of student journalists and working on the website of the “Write to Read” organization that provide libraries for remote Indigenous communities in northern BC.
Currently, Porter on the board of the German Canadian Business Association, as well as the German Canadian Heritage Plaza. She has worked with Coastal Ballet, helping translate storylines and promoting events. She has a blog “Westcoast German News” and publishes a magazine every two months. The magazine introduced her to artists, singers, dancers, musicians and writers of all kinds.
Porter grew up on a farm, where she milked one or two goals in the morning before school and went horseback riding whenever she could. But her heart was always in Vancouver City, especially Stanley Park. Hobbies include travel, scuba diving, beaches, walking, cycling and self-defence. A life-defining moment occurred when she leaped out of an airplane at 10,000 feet into a bed of clouds while doing a tandem skydive.
She is passionate about a clean & affordable Vancouver that is accessible for everyone. “As I am pretty active on social media, I am tired of always seeing a similar kind of message: We have sold our tiny condo in Vancouver, BC and have moved into a giant, affordable house in – Winnipeg, Kamloops, Duncan, Saskatoon – you name it. Let’s keep families together and keep them in the City, where they can thrive as teachers, as coffee baristas, as store clerks and as wait staff or gardeners.”
Porter lives in Kitsilano with her husband and two children.