IWSO is governed by a women-led Board of Directors, the majority being immigrant and racialized women themselves. Our Board is served by a variety of leaders, experts and elected representatives. The Board meets regularly to oversee ongoing objectives and continues to work tirelessly to expand corporate partnerships and increase fund-raising activities to secure the sustainability of our programs and services. If you have ever wondered what it means to these exceptional women to actually have a seat at the IWSO table, read below what this opportunity means to them:
Being on the IWSO Board with women at various stages, ages and experiences, gives me the opportunity to learn from them and help guide an important organization that continuously helps immigrant women and children fleeing violence. Sitting on this Board gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that I belong to on a larger scale. Also, being able to share the great things IWSO does for the community with people in my network, helps to build more awareness of the services IWSO provides in our community.
Lori Ann McDonald
Sitting on the IWSO Board means Giving Back! Canada was open and generous to my family when we arrived in 1976. This is a way for me to support new Canadian women so they can have the same opportunities. It also means making a difference and having a positive impact on women’s lives in Canada using the skills and talents that I have aquired. Plus, I love working with this diverse and highly talented group of women on the Board and at IWSO!
Over 30 years ago I was one of the co-founders of this organization together with Lucya Spencer and Alma Estable. We led an extensive community development initiative involving many women from different sectors with the goal to address the needs of abused immigrant women. After a few years of advocacy work, we were able to start very small with only one coordinator position. An expansion followed the next year adding four full-time staff positions (two crisis counsellors and two interpreters). For many years after that, I continued to follow the development and growth of IWSO, more from the side-lines. At times, I was pulled in to assist IWSO with a number of projects within my capacity as a community-based researcher and evaluator. Coming close to the end of my paid career, I wanted to come back as a Board Member to further support and solidify IWSO which had survived a time of massive cutbacks to women’s organizations across Canada.
My vision as a Board Chair, and now Past Chair, has been to make the organization stronger. To me, this means solidifying the quality of services to immigrant women and their children by recognizing the immense contribution staff is making (beyond verbal acknowledgement). It also means continuing to develop solid data and knowledge within the organization about what is working well and where some gaps may exist, a strategic goal for most organizations of any size. Growth and service expansion will follow in tandem. As a Board Member, I also like to support and mentor especially young immigrant and racialized women (who I marvel at how accomplished they already are) to take on and practice leadership positions within a team of committed women. Another pillar is continuing to voice and advocate for the needs of immigrant women, and those who have survived violence, beyond the local level. This requires building strong allies and networks for increasing opportunities to be heard and ultimately affect change. Always still lots more to do…
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa
219 Argyle Avenue, Suite 400