Donor Spotlight: Ann Naymie

In this edition of Donor Spotlight, we’d like to introduce Ann Naymie. Ann was looking to fund a Learning to Lead™ scholarship for a recipient that she felt would most positively benefit from the experience, someone that would go on to truly make a difference in the world. We matched Ann to Autumn Walkem, and the connection was instantaneous. You can read more about their journey here.

Learn more about Ann’s personal connection to Minerva BC’s mission below: 

How did you first connect with Minerva BC and hear about our work?

I am in a women’s group. We call ourselves Wild Women, and we meet six times a year to discuss a topic in depth. For one session, we read The Soul of Money. Author Lynne Twist writes about not being ruled by money, but rather finding your deeper values and living with generosity according to those values. Her ideas changed my frugal attitude about my savings. 

I was also inspired by my Dad who was an effective business leader and always a mentor. Initially, he mentored young business men. But in his last 35 years, after the women’s movement, he found working with women to develop their leadership skills particularly rewarding. 

After my Dad died, I completed Twist’s book and was also nearing retirement. I knew I wanted to sponsor young women to find their voices. That focus brought me to Minerva BC. The fit was perfect. 

Why do you think that it is important to support Minerva BC’s mission of changing the face of leadership?

I grew up during the paternalistic world of the ’50s and ’60s where a woman’s education and training were preparation for marriage, a family and supporting the success of her husband. I was certainly involved in the protests of the late ’60s and finding my voice as a leader has been a rewarding part of my life-long learning and development. 

The mission of Minerva BC is to facilitate women’s leadership development in all aspects of their lives. The various programs encourage women of many ages to discover their values and articulate them in personal and professional contexts. While it may be difficult to measure the impact of Minerva’s work, I know the ripple effect is far-reaching and significant. 

Why did you choose a scholarship as your vehicle of support?

When I met with Minerva’s executive team I was particularly taken by two leadership programs where I could sponsor a participant. I was inspired by Learning to Lead™, a program that supports Grade 11 girls, because I knew 16-year-old me would have appreciated such an experience. I have also been concerned about the present day lack of balance, both gender and cultural. And I believe that Canada and the world would be better if women in general and indigenous women in particular were listened to and respected.

I chose to support a scholarship for a Grade 11 student who was First Nations, lived outside of Vancouver and interested in creative arts. The candidate I chose was Autumn Walkem, a writer, who lives in Kamloops and is from the Nlaka’pamux Nation. She and I connected after her Learning to Lead™ weekend at UBC where she discovered her strengths and expressed her leadership voice connecting with others from around the province.

Autumn and I continued seeing each other throughout the year. One of the many things I learned from her was that her band is matriarchal. She shared their traditions and responsibilites and her strong voice, at 17, awed me.

A highlight was attending her Aboriginal Graduation, June 11, in Kamloops. She gave one of the two valedictorian addresses. Her words were powerful, honest and spoken like a true leader, challenging the system and celebrating First Nations connections.

I am grateful to Minerva BC for my rich relationship with Autumn, and for the immeasurable contributions Minerva programs make to all of its participants and sponsors.

Thank you Ann for helping us change the face of leadership in British Columbia. For more information on contributing to a program scholarship, contact Jackie or consider giving a one-time or monthly gift to Minerva BC. 

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