I recall several points throughout my years at Mohawk being told that immersing yourself in the community in which you live and eventually plan to build a career would be essential for a complete experience. I wholeheartedly agreed. It wasn’t a stretch for me afterall; a sense of community had already been a part of my DNA. It’s why I’ll always tout the ‘C’ in college is for community.
The Business Administration Program was a rewarding three years to say the least. Since graduation in 1994, I’ve stayed in regular contact with Janice Shearer; a former teacher during my days at the college. Perhaps the litmus test for how connecting with people can forge lasting relationships even when the dynamic changes. She’s now retired from the College and transitioned to the position of Manager, Marketing and Community Engagement at Ronald McDonald House Hamilton (RMH) and a passionate crusader for the institution’s positive support role for families facing children in long term hospital stays.
|Brent (left), Janice (centre)|
As many Hamiltonians do every day, I’ve driven past RMH countless times without ever a thought to what was happening inside the walls. It was often a part of my running route and I began to take notice as their expansion construction progressed. One day this past summer I visited Janice and was treated to a tour. The sense of togetherness was instant. The staff is truly committed to their cause. Janice fills an important role that was triggered by a defining moment with a parent at the house. While on sabbatical from Mohawk she met a father who shared that the support of RMH was offering a simple yet impactful service. It provided a place to rest his head, recharge and return to the hospital to help show his ill child what courage was all about.
Janice is employing innovative ways to share the message through corporate partners, experiential activities and hands on support. An interactive video donor wall highlights corporate partners and individuals contributing to success at the house. Staff members from local companies volunteer for cooking programs to support the in-house chef and prepare meals for those taking temporary lodging in the remodeled guest rooms. Dalton Timmis Insurance has supported a program with the aim to win funding for a serenity garden offering outdoor space for those seeking refuge.
Cause related marketing programs are a new focus for Janice, as are opportunities for corporate donors to experience the services and support system available there first hand. My visit struck a chord and levelled greater awareness inside me. The tour included a window to the ‘secret room’ that made me smile and wipe a few tears at the same time. It felt good to have a taste of the c in community. Get involved. Go visit Janice and ask her for a tour. Check out the secret room, it’ll feel like you got an ‘A’ and make you glad you did.
Brent Kinnaird – Partner, Inspire Marketing
3 Year Business Administration ’94
Follow Brent @brentkinnaird