Celebrate female community leaders this International Women’s Day

Nick Laurin
Celebrate female community leaders this International Women’s Day
Pictured from left-to-right are City of Cornwall Chief Administration Officer Maureen Adams, Clerk Manon Levesque, and Cornwall Police Services Chief Shawna Spowart (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – International Women’s Day is on March 8, and is a day where the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women are celebrated.

According to UN Women, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘’Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’’, to recognize the contribution, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
Seaway News asked prominent women in our community questions about their careers, and their inspirations.

Maureen Adams, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Cornwall, told Seaway News about a co-worker she worked with at Nissan.

“During my career at Nissa, there was a Director (Robin) at North American that continuously inspired me. She was very strategic and was able to influence her superiors and have an impact on our North American business operations. During my last trip to Los Angeles, a group took me out for dinner and Robin ordered a Canadian beer in recognition of a Canadian colleague. As our discussion during the evening continued, you appreciate that she is a mother, wife, and daughter on top of a very demanding career. I would always want to aspire to be just like she was.” said Adams to Seaway News.

Shawna Spowart, Chief of the Cornwall Police Service, told Seaway News about facing challenges in her career from being a woman.

“This is a very interesting question for me because my answer to it over the years has changed. When I was younger, I think I was so focused on what I needed to do to prove myself that I didn’t worry about these kinds of challenges. I experienced every situation as a woman, through the lens of a woman. I didn’t know anything different. Looking back, I believe that as a woman, there were times when I was required to prove myself even more than others,” Spowart said. “I can see that now, but in a way I am glad that I didn’t let that interfere with my own learning and progression. In my role as a community leader who is a woman, it’s important for me to ensure that the women of today work in an environment where they are treated with equality in terms of the respect and opportunities that they so deserve.”

Juliette Labossière, Executive Director, United Way/Centraide Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, told Seaway News about her career choice.

“I always knew I wanted to do work that would benefit others, advocate for the rights of those that don’t feel they have a voice and make the world a better place. Working for the UWC SDG allows me the privilege of being surrounded by passionate, community-minded individuals that inspire me daily to find better solutions to the complex issues that plague our community. I am one of the lucky ones that wakes up every morning and is excited by what challenges the day will hold and what possibilities will come from them. My work is a passion, a love letter to my community, not a chore,” she said.

Joanne Haley, South Glengarry’s General manager of Planning, Building and Enforcement explained the challenges that women face who work in a political field.

“There are many inspiring women; I have always been inspired by women who have been elected for office at all levels of government. I feel that it is not easy to be a women in politics, especially if they have a family, as they make a lot of sacrifices and sometimes face criticisms that men do not,” said Haley.

For more informations on this year’s International Women’s Day, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com.

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