Eastern Ontario is a diverse and unique area full of non-profits, charities and educational institutions. The area boasts a total of 12 schools of higher learning. From small community services to large non-profits, its non-profit organizations play their own role in driving economic and social change and development. Whether this be through dedicated health care in a hospital setting or exceptional education at one of the nation’s top universities, these organizations are advancing Eastern Ontario’s goals and creating cornerstones for building strong communities.
principal, Queen’s University, Kingston
Born in South Africa, Patrick Deane came to Canada to pursue a human rights and constitutional law degree. He studied English instead, igniting a passion for teaching, which evolved into a career path of administrative leadership in higher education. As the principal of Queen’s University since 2019, Deane understands its importance to the community and he’s worked to build relationships to maximize the university’s impact on the community economically and socially.
Deane seeks to make higher education accessible to all those who can benefit from it.
“Everyone who can benefit should have access without barriers. Diversity has to be much more pronounced,” Deane says. “I am fortunate to be leading this institution at this time. There’s so much potential for change.”
Deane is excited to bring people back to the rewards of in-person study while being mindful of the new responsibilities in-person learning requires.
president and chief executive officer, Cornwall Community Hospital
Serving a catchment area of close to 100,000 residents, Jeanette Despatie leads a team of staff and physicians who strive to provide patient-centred health care to those in need, be it a newborn or a palliative patient. Despatie has spent most of her career within the health-care field. She became chief executive officer at Hotel Dieu Hospital in 2000, which she later merged with the Cornwall General Hospital to become the redeveloped Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH).
“Thriving communities need accessible, quality health care, and CCH is an essential player in the delivery of health care in our communities,” Despatie says. “I believe it is extremely important for a hospital to have the confidence of its community. That’s why I work to ensure we educate our community on our services. It’s important that people know they can receive the same quality care at CCH as they would expect at a larger centre.”
manager of community and student affairs, Algonquin College
Jamie Bramburger has been working at Algonquin College for 23 years within student services, alumni relations, fundraising and more. Bramburger always puts his community first and believes that partnership and collaboration are key. Bramburger is a promoter of all things Algonquin College, Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley.
“I love my community and I love my work,” Bramburger says. “I see every day how the college changes lives and that is what drives my passion.”
Bramburger played a large role in the development of the Pembroke campus of Algonquin College, which opened in 2021. There are now five private residences in Pembroke. “The advocacy, planning, media and fundraising changed the face of Pembroke as 1,000 full-time students are now welcomed each year.”
Through his active volunteerism and his extensive work with the community, Bramburger’s path led him to become a member of the board of directors of United Way East Ontario.
“The work the United Way has done has shone through during the pandemic,” he says.
president and CEO, St. Lawrence College
Glenn Vollebregt has been president and CEO of St. Lawrence College’s three campuses since 2003. He has a strong history of senior leadership at the academic, municipal and private-sector level. Vollebregt is passionate about the economic development and success of these educational communities, seeing and nurturing their link to the academic success of his students. Among Vollebregt’s many accomplishments, he has increased enrolment to an all-time high of 10,000 and international student numbers have jumped from 85 to 2,000. The importance he puts on time with his family and a work-life balance is the example he tries to set for all who work at SLC.
Vollebregt has recently been reappointed to serve a third term in this job.
chief executive officer, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Growing up in a small town near Baltimore, Maryland, and having worked previously with the U.S. Nuclear Submarine Force for 30 years, Joe McBrearty believes accountability and having a sense of purpose have always been important.
McBrearty became CEO of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories last year. In 2018, the Chalk River campus’s nuclear reactor was shut down. McBrearty and his team discovered ways to revitalize and reimagine the facility with its 3,400 workers, and change its mission and purpose. The campus became one of the world’s largest facilities dealing with nuclear cleanup and the environment. It also re-entered the market with ways to help and treat people diagnosed with cancer.
After the pandemic hit, “we answered a mission from the federal government to design, test and take to market an MVM ventilator within a few months. These didn’t touch the nuclear world,” says McBrearty. “Our people and company’s ability to respond to desperate needs was key. They came forward to protect and take care of our people.”
Colonel John Vass
Commander, 4th Canadian Division Support Group
Col. John Vass is commander of the 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) as well as the Garrison Petawawa Commander. Responsible for the delivery of institutional support to all Canadian Army units throughout Ontario, Col. Vass and his team play a huge role in many different areas, including maintenance, supply, information technology, human resources and more. “In my role as garrison commander, I am the de facto mayor and act as the Canadian Armed Forces senior representative to the local community.”
Col. Vass was born in Kingston and grew up in a military family. Having graduated from high school in Petawawa, he considers the community his home. Col. Vass has continued to deepen the relationship of the garrison with the town and the county. “We maintain open lines of communication to ensure we have a united front. This was paramount as we navigated the challenges and limitations of the COVID-19 environment.”
manager, Lanark County Food Bank, Carleton Place
A typical day for Tammy Parent means maintaining stock and handling client intake and volunteers at the Lanark County Food Bank. But that’s not the whole picture. In her role as manager, she has done so much more for the 290 hungry families of Carleton Place and its surrounding region.
After the pandemic hit, the food bank was forced to change the way it did things. “We were able to continue to provide a personalized service for clients by spacing out volunteers and the flow of traffic,” says Parent.
To be able to help people to go home feeling good and compliment the volunteers are what Parent believes sets their organization apart. “They’re more than just a number on a list,” says Parent.
The food bank, under Parent’s leadership, provides multiple services to the community, including home delivery, cooking classes and the Hunger Stop Academy for youth teams to learn about hunger. Its new volunteer-run garden will provide fresh produce to clients.