By Jonathan Migneault
Barbara Nott received the Community Trailblazer Award at the 2015 Influential Woman of Northern Ontario Awards May 25 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Other winners from Sudbury were Diana Fuller Henninger, owner of Henninger’s Diesel (Entrepreneur of the Year) and Alica Woods, president of Covergalls (Young Entrepreneur of the Year).
Nott can hardly remember a time when she didn’t volunteer.
The retired teacher has given her time to more than 20 organizations, ranging from the Girl Guides of Canada, to the United Way, and many other worthy causes across Sudbury.
“My parents were quite involved in volunteering and they had us come along to show us why it was important to give back,” Nott said.
Her parents often brought Nott and her three sisters to church bake sales and other community events to show them the importance of giving their time to improve their community.
As a young girl, Nott joined the Girl Guides of Canada, and made her way from a brownie, to a girl guide, a ranger, and finally, an adult leader, giving back to an organization that gave her so much throughout most of her life.
It was with the Girl Guides Nott learned about leadership.
When she was a young girl, she said, it was rare for women to be in leadership positions. Company presidents and other leaders in the community were almost always men.
But through the Girl Guides she got to see strong women take on great responsibilities and fill leadership roles women often didn’t attain at the time.
She has since applied those skills to a full-time second career of sorts as a “volunteer extraordinaire.”
Nott’s dedication to her community makes her the 2015 Influential Women community trailblazer.
“She dedicates more time to volunteering than many people spend in their paying jobs,” wrote Pamela Patry, president of the Volunteer Sudbury board of directors, in a letter recommending Nott for the award.
Volunteer Sudbury is just one of many organizations Nott supports with her time. She has been the organization’s president for three years.
When Volunteer Sudbury was at risk of dissolution a few years ago, Nott rallied new members to join and was able to keep it alive.
When asked why she donates her time to such a wide variety of organizations and causes, Nott responded, “Variety is the spice of life.”
One of her more recent endeavours has been her involvement with Sudbury’s Pond Hockey Festival on the Rock.
Nott started as the festival’s volunteer co-ordinator, and later became its chair.
Last year, the day-long pond hockey tournament on Ramsey Lake raised more than $20,000 for Camp Quality and Northern Ontario families who have children with cancer.
The previous year, the festival donated around the same amount to the Autism Society.
Her years of experience volunteering for a wide array of organizations made her an ideal candidate for the United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts’ Leadership Development Program. Nott provides governance and management training to non-profit organizations through the program.
For Nott, giving of herself comes naturally, and her time spent volunteering is worthwhile when she sees the difference it makes in the community.
“It makes a better community,” she said. The more you give back to a community, the more you’re involved in the community, it makes a better community to live in.”