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A Word from the Executive Director


An organization like the Women’s Centre of Montréal has to count on the engagement and dedication of many people. As I have said many times, it really is a great privilege to work with these women regularly: our participants who are regaining power in their lives through enormous efforts and with great successes small and large, our workers, our volunteers and our interns who represent our future...

The contributions of business people who are sincerely proud to help improve our community are also extremely valuable, not to mention the contributions of our faithful funders, who allow us to achieve the organization’s mission and maintain and expand our services and activities.

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the outgoing president of the Centre’s Board of Directors, Louise Béchamp, who is leaving us after eight years of commitment. Thank you for your support, your unconditional dedication to the cause, your thoroughness and your efficiency. During these eight years, you always put the interests of the Centre and the Foundation first, and you defended them skilfully!

Thanks, also, to Brigitte Chartier, who has been our treasurer for eight years and who is also leaving at the end of her term. Your expertise shed valuable light on our financial management and helped implement many processes that have contributed to the sound management of our organization.

Finally, thanks to our participant-member, Barakissa Savadogo, who is also coming to the end of her term. Your participation as a front-row witness to the Centre’s impact has been much appreciated.

The last year has been demanding, stimulating and, as always, very rewarding.

The heart-breaking life stories recounted by asylum seekers were hard for the Front Line Service team to hear, and the full employment situation was an additional challenge for our Employability Service.

In this vein, in addition to our regular activities, we held the fifth edition of our “Paying It Forward” networking activity for our employability participants, continued to write articles for Jobboom and established a new partnership with Yves Rocher for hiring interview simulations. We also welcomed Centraide volunteers for the “Elles Centraide” initiative, for a much-appreciated annual networking meeting with our job seekers. We also updated the skills of our team.

In the Front Line Service, we developed two new projects for adult women who survived sexual abuse in childhood. In November 2018, nearly 70 people attended the opening of the “Survivarts” exhibition (financed by the Québec Ministry of Justice) to discover the works of six extremely courageous women who shared their suffering to raise public awareness about the tragic consequences of sexual abuse in childhood and help prevent it from continuing. The second project – “Il était une fois et une fois il sera” (financed by Bell Let’s Talk community fund) – is underway. Our partnership with the L’Oréal Foundation also continued, with a third cohort in the “Beauty for a Better Life” training program.

We also extensively overhauled our website, thanks to a partnership with Sextans Design & Web, and launched our strategic planning exercise.

In terms of collective action, we continued to be involved with the Table de quartier (Corporation de Développement Communautaire Action Solidarité Grand Plateau), the Communauté Saint-Urbain (for the reclassification of Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal) and several other tables and cooperation groups related to our areas of intervention.

Finally, it is with enormous pleasure that we announced a fundraising record at our Foundation’s 21st annual benefit evening in March.

I am very proud of the achievements of our team, which draws its energy from the incredible validation our work provides, knowing that our actions have a real impact on the lives of the women who come to our door every year. I want to share with you a note we received from one of our partners, Weegates: “The difference you make today counts in all our tomorrows.”

I invite you to read about our achievements and share the touching testimonies in our last annuel report.

Thanks for believing in us and in all these women who, with your support, are able to move forward into better lives and contribute fully to the development of our community.

Johanne Bélisle, s.w.
Executive Director
Women’s Centre of Montréal

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