Community. Such a short word, but such a big thing. Your community is an extension of yourself. You share a common set of values with the people in your community. When you say “My community”, you get a sense of belonging, like you are rightly placed in the right position. And some people are satisfied with just that. But others, such as the 10 on our list, aren’t. They want more then the sense of belonging–they want the sense of contributing. They can’t sit idle. They are always looking for new ways to make the world around them a better place and they stop at nothing. They are stellar individuals working for the greater good of the people. Here’s a look at the top ten community driven people of 2012.
Karine Parthenais is the creator and founder of SheConnex. Karine herself is an entrepreneur and therefore knows the importance of networking from this entrepreneurial standpoint, but she also realized there was a need for online and offline social networking. Being the type of person who likes to make personal and meaningful connections with people, she created SheConnex. SheConnex helps women thrive professionally, socially, and personally by giving them the information and tools they may not have otherwise had. The SheConnex Studio is a place where you don’t have to talk just about business, in fact you can bring friends along with you and sign up for a variety of activities that don’t relate to business. Activities are geared towards business owners, moms, and just women in general. SheConnex’s events are also utilized to amass funds for various charitable organizations.
Alyssa Blais has been the Executive Director of the Agape Centre since December 2010. She came to Cornwall from Montreall. When she is not out bettering the community, she enjoys diving with her friends and her daughter. She can see the potential Cornwall has as well as the overwhelming amount of residents that are struggling to make ends meet. As the Executive Director, she creates and oversees the Agape’s fundraising plans, some of which include corporate donations, grant solicitation, and major gifts. Alyssa also betters the Agape Centre and the community by finding new projects and programs to do that could help better the lives of the Agape clients. A few of those projects and programs include the “Weeding Out Hunger” garden, special hunger initiatives and a community kitchen. Being an entrepreneur at heart, Alyssa is also involved in her own venture, “Politigal”, an organization made to encourage & empower women to enter into municipal politics.
Andre Pommier is the owner of Pommier Jewelers on Second Street Cornwall, ON. He gained his knowledge of the jewelery business by studying at George Brown College, majoring in goldsmithing, gemology and jewelry design. In the process of completing his education, he became an award winning Canadian designer goldsmith. Andre, along with his family, had been looking for a way to support local charities. knowing his customers so well, Andre came up with the idea of a custom made Christmas tree ornament. With the help of Corus Entertainment, and with all the profits going to the worthy cause of the United Way of SD&G, the ornaments went over quite well raising $5,500 through the “Angels Among Us campaign”. This has now become a yearly tradition and the ornaments are well sought after and highly collectable.
Gilles Latour is the owner of Latour Financial Group and is a licensed level 2 Life Insurance Broker. Born and raised in Cornwall, Gilles is very involved in his community. For many years, and up to this day, he has been serving as the Chairman of Team Cornwall. Under his direction, Team Cornwall has grown to more than 430 members who are true ambassadors of the city. Team Cornwall is also one of the forces behind the “Year in Review”, an annual event that highlights the year’s accomplishments of individuals, companies, corporations and Team Cornwall members. Watch the Chamber’s Business Excellence Awards this year as Team Cornwall sponsors the new “Ambassador of the Year” award, which will recognize the efforts of an individual who goes out of his or her way to promote Cornwall.
Dan Parkinson is the Chief of Police for the Cornwall Community Police Force. He graduated from the University of Cambridge, England, with a degree in applied criminology and police studies. Chief Parkinson is a member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the first Vice President with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. Also he is the OACP representative to the Ministry of the Attorney General and is on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He also has been awarded with the President’s Award of Merit from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) which is the highest award amongst the province’s police leaders and honors a member who demonstrates dedication and support to the organization as well as many other awards. And Personally, I think Chief Parkinson is doing a fine job at keeping Cornwall safe.
Rachel Navaneelan or Dr. Navaneelan is the owner of Dr. Rachel Navaneelan’s Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. She studied and graduated from the University of Sri Lanka. Dr. Navaneelan has created the charitable organization “Rachel’s kids” which is a community supported organization that relies on corporate donations and the time of volunteers. Rachel’s kids was created to help impoverished, neglected, and abused children. They also help with many education initiatives, including building schools and awarding scholarships ,as well as collaborating with other children aiding organizations to improve the lives of children locally and globally. This organization is putting its efforts in to new projects. Some examples would be Rachel’s kid school for refugee children located in Bangalore, India, and the Foster Parents Plans in Sri Lanka.
Amy Malyon is the Assistant Executive Manager at the Cornwall and Area Chamber. For the past while, Amy has been the Chambers Office Administrator. During that time she has established herself as a highly capable individual as well as a very talented person. While Amy was the Chambers Office Administrator, in addition to doing the day to day administrative affairs, she has also successfully coordinated numerous varieties of projects including the Business Excellence Awards (see Team Cornwall above) and BizFest. BizFest is a multiple day business festival held during small business week in October which features events, presentations, and social functions that brings the business community together to grow and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.
Jacqueline Milner is an artist of Commerce. She is an award winning photographic and visual artist. She lives in Summerstown Station. She has her own business “Image-ine Photography” which she opened in March of 2002 after having worked with the photography medium for around 20 years. But Jacqueline is also a strong activist for our planet. Her column “Earth Matters” published in the Cornwall Freenews, features local and national environmental news, information and images. Her facebook page, baring the same name, talks about caring for (or the lack of caring for) our planet, our various habitats, and the life forms that we share this planet with.
Francois Desormaux is the Executive Director and Senior Business Adviser for the Community Futures Development Corporation. The Community Futures Development Corporation is a community based non-profit development and investment agency. The organization is funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry. It also receives funding from other Federal Departments and Provincial Ministries for project initiatives. As both the Executive Director and the Senior Business Adviser Mr. Desormaux takes pride in assisting entrepreneurs when they are starting, planning, and/or expanding their business. An entrepreneur himself, Mr. Desormaux has built an impressive track record, having created around a dozen small successful businesses, and brings this real life experience to the table when helping other business owners. He can truly relate to the challenges of starting or managing a business.
Steven Iwachniuk is the founder of Storm Realty Cornwall. He began his career in 2004 and has since received numerous awards such as Rookie of the Year in Eastern Ontario, the Ambassador Award, Top Producer, Top Sponsor, Top Sales, Top Lister and many more. He is dedicated his industry and raises the bar of professionalism in that industry. Under his watch and in only two years of existence, we have seen Storm give back to the community in big ways. Steven loves Cornwall. He coaches sports, sponsors community events such as the Cornwall Winterfest Carnival, a free family festival offering loads of entertainment and activities. Storm also donates bursaries at graduation ceremonies for a variety of school in the area.