I have been a proud member of Soroptimist for the past twenty years. Never in my wildest dreams did I even think that joining this club would give me so much personal growth, friendship, leadership development and satisfaction in helping other women and girls in our local communities and throughout the world. It’s such a wonderful feeling to help others less fortunate than yourself. It makes me feel very humble to know how much the work we have accomplished over the past twenty years and the difference it has truly made in so many lives.
At the club and region level, I was chair for the Women’s Opportunity and Violet Richardson award programs. It was very emotional to read the applications and their stories of hardship and the many barriers they have had face. Receiving the WOA award is an opportunity to make such a big difference in their lives. I have always said, “It is not a hand out, but a hand up“. I have also met the winners at the federation level and to hear their stories is an inspiration to women all over the world.
I have had the opportunity to travel to attend conferences and conventions and have made friends from literally all over the world. I attended my first Soroptimist International convention in Scotland which was an experience of a live time. I was able to renew old friendships and make new ones. It was an awesome experience. The highlight of the convention was the attendance of Princess Anne and to hear her speak of the great work she does in Britain to help the less fortunate children was very inspiring. I stayed in a bed and breakfast for two weeks in Glasgow and had a chance to see many historic and exciting places while I was there.
My latest convention in Taipei, Taiwan was an experience I will cherish forever. I stayed for one week and then travelled to Hong Kong for another week. What an adventure! And of course the shopping was great. For the members that know me I have another passion … shopping! I have always enjoyed fashion and admit I do enjoy the latest in fashion. Over the years I have been able to shop at various places around the world when I am attending conventions!
I have been very fortunate in my life, especially growing up in a loving and caring family. I have been married to my best friend and soul mate, Doug, for the past 38 years. We are proud of our four children, JD (33) who is a doctor and resides in Arizona, Chris (32) who does computer work and lives at home, AJ (or Andrew, 27) co owns Golden Gate Equestrian Farm, and Jenna Dee (22) is completing her second year of her two year program at the School of Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine in Toronto and is busy planning her wedding that is taking place in May, 2009. We are very excited about Jenna getting married and have been very busy planning to make this a very special day.
My family is my greatest accomplishment. I am not afraid to say that Doug and I still enjoy our “dates” together and love to travel. We are business partners in the Village Treehouse Childcare which we started in l981 here in Ancaster. Our favourite place is Las Vegas, but not to gamble – it’s the people watching, shopping, local attractions, Las Vegas shows and of course the magic shows! Doug is a professional magician and is actively involved in the IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) and local magic club. We often attend Magic conventions together.
I must say that they have always supported me and encouraged me in my Soroptimist journey. Whatever position I held at the club level and region level my family never complained and my husband and children were always there to help with anything I needed. When I was nominated to be Governor of Eastern Canada Region (ECR) I knew that it would involve a great deal of time and commitment (board meetings, planning fall meetings, organizing spring conference to mention a few duties) and my husband Doug was very supportive and understanding. He never once complained or suggested I was spending too much time doing Soroptimist work. He was there for me when I was inducted as ECR governor and I know I could not have done it without his love and support.
The members in our club are a super group of women. I highly respect all the various skills and talents they so generously share with each other and our organization. I have a passion for our organization and think of myself of an ambassador or cheerleader for others to be inspired to be the best they can be. I have always enjoyed working as a team and feel my leadership stressed the importance of having “fun” while doing our work. When I was governor I used the words, “What happens at Conference, stays at conference” and that saying has continued since!
I have grown up in the field of Early Childhood education as my mother operated one of the first child care programs in Hamilton since 1962. Attending high school from 1964 – 1968, I worked each day after school at the child care and during the summers. I attended Mohawk College from l968 – 1970 to receive my diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been the supervisor/director at Lucky Day Nursery for the past 39 years and director of the Village Treehouse Childcare for the past 28 years. I am actively involved in the daily operation of both programs, as well as the field of early learning and care through the Association of Early Childhood Educators. Over the past 40 years I have continued my love of learning by presenting and attending many workshops and seminars. I am very excited to be teaching Early Childhood Education at Mohawk College part time. I am an area network leader for the supervisor’s network in Hamilton and sit on the Best Start Network. I was proud to receive the Award of Distinction for the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario two times. I also received the Employer of the Year for 2006 from the Hamilton Board of Education.
- Registered Early Childhood Educator with the College of Early Childhood Educators
- Certified member of the Association for Early Childhood Educators of Ontario
- Member of the Child care Federation
- Member of Affiliated Services for Youth and Children
- Board member of the Best Start Committee
- Area Network leader for the region of Hamilton
I joined Soroptimist to give back to the community that I have received so much from. It gives me an opportunity to help less fortunate women who, for no fault of their own, have had many barriers in their life. It gives me a chance to improve the lives of women and girls in our local community and throughout the world. Through my role as the Governor of Eastern Canada Region I had the opportunity to represent the region and learn so much more about the magnitude of what our organization does worldwide. We all must not just think “locally, but also globally”!
I have had the amazing opportunity to meet leaders of our organization from all four federations in Soroptimist International of the Americas. At the convention in Philadelphia I had the privilege of sitting with all four federation presidents and hearing their views on where our organization is going. I have learned that no matter what position a Soroptimist holds, we all have the same common goals and mission.
I enjoy the many friendships I have made over the years and the love and support the women in our club show to each other. We have a great deal of fun when we do our fundraising projects or our hands on projects. It gives us a chance to share our time and talents to the betterment of others. Being part of this group of successful and positive women is refreshing and a learning experience. We network and help each other to bring out the best for others! Our meetings are informative and allow all members to voice their opinions and ideas. We are like minded women and strive to help make a difference in the lives of women and girls and to help them fulfill their dreams and make this a better world.
I am looking forward to my new position on the SIA federation board and am honoured to represent Eastern Canada Region. I have been blessed with many special mentors along the way who have encouraged, supported and helped me in my Soroptimist journey. We have engaged in laughter, tears, conversation and support! Being a member of Soroptimist you have so much to gain. It is the best gift a women can give herself…..the gift of membership!