President's Remarks at the AGM
(posted: July 7, 2022)
Annual General Meeting
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Good morning everyone. Thank you for giving your time this morning to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Regional Council. I am grateful to see so many Vincentian leaders come together to participate in the governance of our Ontario Regional Council.
In preparing my remarks this morning I turned to the Society’s founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, for inspiration. Blessed Frederic said:
“In my life I want to become better and do a little good.”
No doubt like many of you, I joined the Society because I wanted to become better and do a little good. And whether you have been a member for three years or thirty, I, and again likely many of you, still want to become better and do a little good.
All of you online today, and your sister and brother Vincentians are doing a whole lot more than a little good. The data compiled from your recently completed 2021 annual reports reveals that well over 3,000 Vincentians in Ontario have made calls to 20,000 households and brought compassion and hope to tens of thousands of adults and children. This is remarkable given we were living in a pandemic. And while thrift stores may have been closed and the work done at food banks and soup kitchens may have been curtailed, Society volunteers found ways to continue service to neighbours in need. Thanks to all of you for your perseverance, commitment, creativity and leadership.
With respect to activity at Ontario Regional Council, the current Board of Directors has been on the job for ten months. We are coming together as a team with a determined commitment to strengthen and grow the Society in Ontario. A necessary accountability for the Board is building on the committee work established by the prior Executive. Many committee chairs completed their mandates with the past Executive and I am grateful to those Vincentians who gave so much of their time and talent in leading committees and continue to mentor those who have taken on the challenge of guiding committee work today. (Phil Bondy, Denise Bondy, Lil Mulder, Corry Wink)
Sincere thanks also goes to the committee chairs who continue to share their expertise in ensuring their committees carry on with essential works of the Society. (Danny Bourne, Jere Hartnett, Guido Kelly, Jim Paddon.) And current Board members have readily stepped in to take leadership roles for new and existing committees. Dan Lohin is the Chair of the Rejuvenation Committee, Rob Greenaway is steering Governance and Nominating, Shelley Gilbert is heading the Communications Committee, Omar Ellis and co-chair Guido Kelly are leading Multi-Cultural Diversity and Deacon John Girolami is guiding the Spirituality Committee. We are blessed that Board members Pegg Leroux remains at the helm of North of 60 and Sue Mazziotti-Armitage continues to share her energy and experience with Stores operations. All committees are always on the look out for capable and enthusiastic members. If you or someone in your conference is interested in serving on an ONRC committee, please let us know!
The Board has a lot of work ahead of it. Crafting a new Strategic Plan is a priority. The Province of Ontario has recently implemented a new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act that will involve all councils currently incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act. ONRC will need to assist those councils make the transition to the new regulations. Rejuvenation is a constant requirement. Communicating awareness about the good works of the Society to our members, our donors and our neighbours in need is also high on the list of action items.
As a Vincentian serving in Peel Particular Council, I knew a whole lot about the outstanding work performed by Greater Toronto Central Council. But until I considered running for a position on the Ontario Board, I knew very little about Society activities outside the GTA. I am truly wowed by the breadth and variety of programs and initiatives underway across this province. The favourite activity I have undertaken since joining the Board is talking to Vincentians and hearing about what’s great in their conference or council and what’s not so great. The compassion, commitment and determination to serve the Society and persons in need is obvious. Sharing that enthusiasm is essential to nurturing the Society, as is sharing our talents and skills in leadership roles on councils and committees. We know that there are still obstacles to better serving our neighbours in need. As the Rule states, “Vincentians feel called to pray together for guidance and strength and for that creative imagination which is the promised gift of the Holy Spirit”.
There are so many people to thank who have been incredibly supportive in my first year serving on the Board. I would like to single out two. Terry Mizzen is resigning from the Board. He has served as Treasurer in London and on the Ontario Executive for almost ten years. Terry has been instrumental in helping me with understanding the financial aspects of the Ontario operations. Thank you Terry and we wish you well in your retirement. Perhaps we’ll meet on the golf course one day! With Terry’s departure the Board has a vacancy to fill. If you are interested in becoming a candidate for the Board of Directors, specifically as Treasurer, please contact me or Rob Greenaway.