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Five community builders recognized as Women of Excellence

Published on

Pam Wright

The Sarnia Community Foundation is honouring five of Sarnia-Lambton’s most capable and influential women as outstanding community builders.

Shauna Carr, Cathy Dobson, April Lepore, Anne McGugan and Mary Jean O’Donnell will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the Sarnia Riding Club on June 20.

Foundation chair Bruce Scott said it was a difficult job selecting from the 20 women nominated, but each of the winners, through their ongoing efforts, embody the vision of a vibrant community, he said.

“Their collective impact on the community is enormous.”

Executive director Jane Anema said each also exemplifies innovation and inclusivity.

“These are women who support one another, who work on common goals, who help other people achieve their dreams,” she said.


Shauna Carr

SHAUNA CARR has held various leadership roles over the past 30 years, including at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton. Most recently she was executive director of the Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board. She also worked as an assistant to former MPP Caroline Di Cocco, who was Ontario’s Minister of Culture. She is passionate about Sarnia-Lambton and volunteers heavily, including serving six years as board chairperson of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and currently serves on the board of the MagFrat Foundation.


Cathy Dobson

CATHY DOBSON is an award-winning journalist who for 30 years has reported on what makes Sarnia-Lambton tick. She once specialized in municipal politics and today, with The Sarnia Journal, tells the stories of residents, businesses and organizations in rich detail. As a speaker, she works to educate young and old on the perils of fake news, while advocating for critical thinking in the Internet age. She has volunteered with numerous organizations, including Victoria Petrolia Playhouse, Business Development Corporation, Habitat for Humanity, and serves on the board of MADD Sarnia-Lambton.



April Lepore

APRIL LEPORE believes one person can make a difference in another person’s life. A single mom, she recognizes the struggles many families face and brings that to her work at St. Clair Child and Youth Services. She is a dedicated volunteer for community events via The Studio and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and an avid supporter of her church. She serves on the board of Parents Standing Together and the Lambton College Early Education Program Advisory Committee. She is passionate about encouraging and empowering families, while advocating for children’s rights.



Anne McGugan

ANNE MCGUGAN is a Queen’s Jubilee Medal winner who was chosen for her dedication to community over the course of her life. She has worn many hats, including those of schoolteacher, 4H leader, church clerk, leader in the Women’s Institute and Alvinston Community Group member. A mom and grandmother, she was a mainstay of husband Don’s political life as mayor of Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood and was a director of Lambton Rural Child Care. Whether caring for flowerbeds or running an event food booth, she is always at work serving her community.


Mary Jean O’Donnell

MARY JEAN O’DONNELL, president MJ Waste Solutions, is committed to volunteerism and the environment. She’s an expert in sustainability and often seen riding a bicycle about town. Since 1990, she has collaborated with corporations, institutions and governments to design and implement zero waste programs. She also volunteers with the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce (vice-chair); Tourism Sarnia-Lambton (chair); Green Drinks Sarnia (co-founder); is past chair of the Bluewater Sustainability Initiative, an adjudicator for the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Green Award, and volunteers with the Humane Society.


Proceeds from the awards event, which runs 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., will support the Women’s Interval Home, the Blue Eyes Big Heart Scholarship and Joanne Klauke Labelle Scholarship at the SCF. Tickets, $50 (including $25 tax receipt, available at the Foundation office or by calling 519-332-2588.

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