Reaching out to help someone in need, work hard, play hard, enjoy each day, be grateful, honest and fair. These are the ideologies I grew up with and the ones I did my best to instil in my own three sons.
My parents immigrated to Canada from Holland after WWII. They arrived in Halifax midwinter with $65 and one suitcase between them. They had spent their teen years struggling to survive, learn and work in a war-torn country and they landed here with eternal optimism, a pioneering spirit and the promise of opportunity in their hearts.
Their war stories about neighbours who hid a Jewish family and the farm where my mom’s extended family hunkered down through much of the war, the liberation of my mom’s hometown Arnhem and the bombing of my dad’s childhood home inspired a sense of peace seeking, justice and hope in me.
I fundamentally believe that doing good work is a must. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that like many of my generation, I fell into fundraising. Formal training in marketing, art and advertising gave me the fundamental skills – 30 years working in and with charities has left me with a wealth of experience.
Creativity, beauty and peace afforded by nature, art in all its forms feed my soul. I like to look at things as much as create them. I use photography and painting to capture that beauty, tell stories and to study color, movement and light. I garden because I like the feel of dirt in my hands – I like the science and art of it – and the satisfaction of growing both beautiful and edible things.
Like people everywhere, I believe we can all make a difference in this world and that it is our moral responsibility to do so.