Allan Reesor-McDowell, executive director, Matthew House Ottawa

Allan Reesor-McDowell
Allan Reesor-McDowell
Editor's Note

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade honour 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs, business executives and civic leaders and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.
Click here to see the full list of the 2021 recipients and click here to watch the special broadcast honouring the year’s recipients.


Business: Charity providing shelter, furnishings and community to refugees and those transitioning to permanent housing.

Born: Toronto

Biggest business achievement: Turned around a local charity that was struggling financially.

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Biggest obstacle overcome: Increased donors by 162 per cent and donations by 168 per cent in 2020, even as more than two-thirds of charities nationwide saw a decline in donations amid the pandemic.

Biggest lesson learned during COVID-19: Don’t base your decisions on other people’s assumptions. Early on in the pandemic, I kept hearing that “the timing wasn’t right to fundraise for charity” as “everyone” was struggling. I took a different approach and invited people to support the important work we are doing at Matthew House Ottawa, and we saw a significant increase in donors and donations during the pandemic.

Charitable involvement: Matthew House Ottawa

First job: Selling poultry and eggs at a market

Advice I’d give the younger me: Listen well. Be open-minded, and learn as much as you can. Be confident enough to think for yourself.

Favourite pastime: Reading


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