Odette building
Odette Sculpture Garden

Odette MBA’s partner with Community Champions


l-r Giovanni Gagliano, Reashmi Suresh, Sindi Mucollairi, Dr. Martha Reavley, Community Champion Sheila Barker, Alicia Neposlan, Vlad Livrinski

“Any aspiring leader must learn to listen – and to persuade their peers to dream with them. There’s no problem that can’t be solved.” Sheila Barker, past president of Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor, embodies the words she speaks.

Students in Dr. Martha Reavley’s Interpersonal Dynamics MBA class partnered with Sheila Barker and an additional eight distinguished Windsor-Essex community leaders for the Celebration of Community Champions luncheon.

Over the course of the semester the nine student groups had ongoing discussions with their respective Community Champions, the purpose: to provide real-world accounts of the duties, challenges, and accomplishments that come along with being a trailblazer. The student groups concluded the project with a presentation about their Community Champion in front of the community leaders and various members of the faculty at the celebratory luncheon. 

“Hearing Sheila’s story was a profound experience,” said MBA student Reashmi Suresh. “She has been a lifelong advocate for equality and race relations, her work directly shaped the Employment Equity Act. She has worked on solving some very complex issues and has managed to do so with such a positive attitude and determined approach – a truly inspiring leader.”

Suresh and her group worked closely with Sheila Barker over the past few months, meeting with her and hearing about her gripping journey as a human rights advocate.

In addition to Sheila Barker (Past President, WEST of Windsor), participating Community Champions included Jo-Anne Gignac (City Councillor), Doris Lapico (Founder, Transition to Betterness), Becky Parent (NFP leader Big Brothers Big Sisters), Lisa Gretzky (MPP Windsor West), Chief Al Frederick (Windsor Police), Angelo Pernasilia (President, Laser Transport), Denise Hrastovec (CPA, Collins Barrow), and Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh (Executive Director, Leadership Windsor Essex).

“For years we have heard about the tremendous work these leaders have been doing around the community,” said student Giovanni Gagliano. “Police Chief Al Frederick has long been a pillar of the Windsor Community, Doris Lapico with her selfless work at Transition to Betterness. We were honoured to have the opportunity to meet each of the leaders and hear their incredible experiences."

Author: Vladimir Livrinski
Reashmi Suresh
Giovanni Gagliano
Dr. Martha Reavley
Academic Area: Business