Essay submitted by Her Honour, The Honourable Janice C. Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
I love this city! I mean, I LOVE THIS CITY! I will take this opportunity to thank all those community-minded people who went ahead of me for creating the city I embrace today.
Thinking about why we can take friends for a stroll through the Exchange District, Assiniboine Park, the Inuit Art Centre (Qaumajuq) or The Forks, is because someone (or several individuals) had an idea. They sold their vision, created a team and persevered, and acted boldly to get the project done. They believed in something they could only imagine.
People are the champions at the core of the vision I have for Winnipeg, looking 100 years ahead. People provide the spirit, leadership, creativity, and energy for generating ideas and taking them through to execution.
In 100 years, I believe we will have made significant progress toward inclusivity, embracing and valuing all people and the perspectives they offer. ALL our community will be encouraged to participate. We know a group decision is usually, if not always, better than that of one person. No one has a monopoly on creativity. We need everyone at the table.
Speaking personally, my dad transferred his love of Winnipeg to me. Through his civic interests, volunteering, he taught me a service ethic. This involves giving of one’s self and resources when possible. Remember, others are learning from you when you don’t know they are watching.
Through volunteering, I learned new skills, met people I wouldn’t otherwise have met, had flexibility while raising a family and experienced the heartbeat of the community.
Winnipeg is in a “sweet spot.” We are at the centre of the North American continent. Technology has eliminated distance. You can do anything in the world from here. We need more entrepreneurs and innovators, who are risk takers and the sources of new ideas.
We need to broaden the base of participation. We need young people to stay here and build on what is a solid foundation. Listen to the generations coming. They have great ideas and need to know they are heard. After all, we are leaving this amazing city for our grandchildren and great “grands,” and not our mothers and fathers.
The Winnipeg Foundation has been a leader for a century and an example across the country. It must continue to invest in people and support organizations and projects that develop leaders. You (Winnipeg Foundation) can read trends due to funding requests. You know the community inside and out. Your Board will continue to be diverse, reflecting our community, while having the skill sets necessary to honour the families who have set up funds.
Philanthropy will continue to play a major role in our city – following the vision of your founder. It allows for opportunity and creativity. It closes the gap between what is, and what is possible. It levels the playing field and allows for others to help.
We need BIG thinking, risk takers, and believers to walk us through this next 100 years. Because of the investment in people, leaders will emerge in all areas, working to shed light on all of Winnipeg’s attributes. In the future, our people will solve the challenges and meet the needs of our community, as they always have. These people will have an abundant mentality and want to be community builders in a vibrant democratic society. This is the opportunity that is Winnipeg!
The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M., is Manitoba’s 25th Lieutenant Governor – only the second woman to hold the post in the province’s history. Married to former Premier of Manitoba, The Honourable Gary Filmon, P.C., O.C., O.M., her family includes four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Her Honour holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from the University of Manitoba. She worked as a Social Worker with the Children’s Aid Society of Winnipeg as a Caseworker in family protection before finding her true calling in the voluntary sector.
One of her greatest attributes is the ability to connect people, and motivate them to take action for the greater good. Her engagement with a number of organizations near-and-dear to her heart is vast and plentiful. She has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, and is the Founding Chair of the Nellie McClung Foundation. In her current role of Lieutenant Governor, she is Honourary Patron to more than 40 organizations.
A true community builder and deserving recipient of numerous dedications and honours, Her Honour was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2007 and the Order of Canada in 2013.