DUNROBIN – The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre’s (WOCRC) new executive director is finishing her first month on the job and looking forward to what fall and the future will bring.
Michelle Hurtubise brings more than 30 years of experience in community-based health and social services to her new role as WOCRC executive director, including providing those services in rural and remote communities.
“What really excited me about coming to Western (as it is colloquially known) is the opportunity to work in an organization that has such a variety of programs in so many key areas,” Hurtubise told West Carleton Online in an informal round table discussion Tuesday, Aug. 27 with a few key stakeholders at the Heart and Soul Café. “Community building is really important to me.”
Hurtubise holds a Master’s in Health Science (health administration) from the University of Toronto and is a certified Organizational, Relationship and Systems Coach from the Centre for Right Relationship and a certified NeuroTransformational Coach from BeAbove Leadership Coaching.
Her 30 years previous experience includes time spent with community health centres, and in the child and youth mental health and violence against women sectors. She has been active on numerous boards in accreditation, child welfare, violence against women and the non-profit sector.
Hurtubise is a committed volunteer and is an active volunteer with the Loran Scholars Foundation and Up With Women. She is also the board chair with the Canadian Centre for Accreditation.
She has spent her first month, travelling around the WOCRC catchment area and seeing first-hand what the WOCRC does.
“I’ve been driving around to all of our community programs,” Hurtubise said. “Getting a sense of the experience of our clients, staff and volunteers.”
Hurtubise says her first big job with the WOCRC will be setting the direction of the organization.
“One of the pieces I’m excited about is developing our new strategic plan,” she said. “Making sure the critical component – how we ensure the needs of the individuals – are met. It is different in the rural areas. We have to respond to isolation, reduced Internet service – how do we share information? If you don’t have a solid understanding of the issues, that planning can create unintended barriers.”
So, that new strategic plan process begins this fall “with a call for a consultant.”
Hurtubise officially started with the WOCRC on July 29. She started in Ottawa 20 years ago at uOttawa and has spent time working in Cornwall, Toronto, London and has been in Nepean the last three and a half years.
She says she has “kept longstanding connections” in the community over that time.
Hurtubise is also acutely aware of the financial constraints of any public organization such as the WOCRC but says politicians are starting to see the importance of supporting resource centres.
“There is pressure on municipalities, but they are recognizing the need for social infrastructure is as important if not more important than physical infrastructure,” she said. “We need places to gather and we need to be able to get there.”
Hurtubise says in-person human contact is critical to good mental health.
“That’s the beauty of a place like the WOCRC,” she said. “There’s a sense we belong to something bigger than ourselves.”