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A Word from the Executive Director

I recently had the enormous privilege of interviewing the participants who agreed to provide testimonies of their experience at the Centre for a video. It was a very inspiring experience.

Our daily work takes on its true meaning when we can see, in practical terms, the impact of our actions on the lives of our participants.

We help improve their lives, but they also change ours. They invite us to grow with them, to become better people and to expand our capacity for resilience without ever throwing up our hands.

As I complete my thirtieth year of service with the Centre, I am still as moved to hear the life stories of these exceptional women, and still inspired by their strength, their courage and their determination.

I am also very proud of our team’s engagement and extremely grateful to our members, volunteers, partners and all our contributors.

The community and the philanthropic sector are changing. Major challenges lie ahead. Creativity, flexibility and adaptability to change, as well the capacity to renew ourselves, are becoming our best allies.

In the last year, we have managed to turn challenges into opportunities, maintain our services and regular activities as well as demonstrating innovation and creativity.

For example, we are very pleased with the success of our “Paying it forward” initiative, developed by our Employability Service, and the consolidation of our “Soup of the Month” activity, which you can read about in our annual report. And what can I say about the new collaboration agreements that were achieved this year, despite an activity calendar that was already packed!

The participation of volunteers in its many different sectors is critical for the Centre and its Foundation.  In addition to our regular volunteers - an impressive number of 297! – we count on many volunteers from the business community who come in groups to lend a hand on various occasions, especially during our Christmas Campaign. We also rely on business people to organize fundraising events for our Foundation. I want to make special mention of the extraordinary mobilization of our patrons and ambassadors in the last year and in preparation for our Foundation’s 20th benefit evening, which is planned for March 2018.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who has inspired, guided, accompanied and encouraged me in the last 30 years at the Centre. In the words of an invaluable donor: Together we are helping to “change the world, one woman at a time!”

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