HeroWork Hero Series: Annette Wall


A passion for teams is the cornerstone of contributing to positive social change. As someone with this passion, Annette Wall’s journey with HeroWork began last year as she was looking online for charity volunteering opportunities.

“When I started looking on the website to do some preliminary research, I saw that a friend of mine [Darlene Potentier] had been involved with HeroWork on a number of the projects in the past, so I immediately called her up. She had been a designer and was an Onsite Leader, and was really involved and a woman I have a great deal of time for. So I called up Darlene and asked what’s up with this Paul guy and is this really a legit organization? And of course, she was over the moon, so I met up with Paul [Latour] and started off helping out with the charity applications.”

Annette has a tremendous amount experience dealing with administration, regulatory matters, and governance, all of which were great assets that led to her being asked to be a part of the Board of Directors. Having started out as a social worker in the public sector, she eventually worked her way up into executive management, becoming the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Health, Finance, and Labour Ministries in the BC provincial government.

She has expertise and a passion for helping facilitate leadership and development within individuals and community. It really was only a matter of time then before she was elected Chair of the Board for HeroWork, a position she has held since October 2014. On the Radical Reno scene, she has also participated in the Threshold Housing Project, and as an Onsite Team protégé during the Citizen’s Counselling Centre project, working alongside Darlene Potentier and Val Sharp.

Paul Latour says that, “she has helped with all of the leadership areas that will be HeroWork’s future growth.” With her extensive experience and a Masters in Leadership, Annette is a kind of expert when it comes to optimizing how people work together.   She is “a good friend and sounding board for me,” added Paul.

“It’s really been an amazing experience for me to see the growth and development of the organization,” says Annette, “…the opportunity to be involved and engaged in taking the organization to the next iteration of the expansion, the codification of the program, writing down the way that we do it so that it can be duplicated in other areas…the passion within the organization that literally everyone brings.”

A common thread that comes up in all of my interviews with HeroWork volunteers is their recognition and vast appreciation for the passion and spirited effort put in by everyone who participates. This keenness among volunteers puts Annette in her element when it comes to coordinating the functioning of teams. “I have not in the experiences I’ve had with HeroWork come across anyone who was kind of blasé about it—everyone that comes into it is so dedicated and thinks that this is such a great idea, and recognizes the intense need that HeroWork is beginning—in our small way—to address and gives people an opportunity to become involved and engaged in so many different ways.“

Annette Wall on the go at a Radical Reno.

Annette Wall on the go at a Radical Reno.

“There isn’t a volunteer out there that couldn’t find something that they want to do. It’s that kind of an organization, whether all you want to do is show up for one shift at a renovation or whether you wanted to lead a whole team of electricians or plumbers, or whatever! There’s work and involvement, and the dedication. The passion has just been amazing to me.”

Having done executive management in the past, I asked Annette to tell me more about that background and how it contributes to her involvement with HeroWork. “I think one of the things that ties things together for me is the process facilitation. I started as a social worker and my role was to facilitate change with individuals, to facilitate their process of growth development change…to try and inspire them and their passion for their own lives and their own selves and development.”

Having started out in social services work like that which HeroWork offers, strikes a chord with Annette. “There is a kind of theme that people bring—it’s their passion and commitment to the work in the social services area. Most people don’t go into it because they want to get rich, they go into it because they want to enrich their community and their world. That’s one of the hooks for me with HeroWork.”

I asked Annette what the most moving thing about working with HeroWork was. “People can become involved within the community and the charities that HeroWork is working with…For people to take their expertise and show and use what they are so expert at, and to do that for the community, I think is a gift…we involve so many people from so many different types of backgrounds, and all of those people come together to create this event…it demonstrates our passion and commitment in a way that is very public and very rewarding.”

In addition to the people working as a partner of the charity, Annette is also moved by the dedication and passion of her fellow HeroWork board members, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and skills. She is continually impressed with their team synergy and how their evolution has brought about great progress for HeroWork itself.

“One of the things that has really sparked an interest for me is watching the development of a young non-profit, being a part of how this organization is developing, and becoming a real force for change.”

HeroWork has made some great strides in the community and holds great potential for its future endeavours. “I think that we are sparking a movement for change. There are a few things that come along in a lifetime that have an opportunity to impact individuals and a community in such a way that HeroWork has.” She went on to tell me how the people she’s encountered in the HeroWork projects in which she has participated have all expressed a motivation to do something else for the community in the future. And through HeroWork, volunteers can become familiarized with their passion for social involvement, whether it be through HeroWork, or helping out with a food bank, or otherwise. What is most important is that the spark for positive change working in aid of the community can be consciously promoted.

For anyone thinking of volunteering with HeroWork, Annette had this to say, “Whatever your interest is in the community, I encourage people to engage and to follow that passion…It gives people an opportunity to come and see how this community can make a difference and how this change can be manifested.”

Annette is continually blown away by the passion and dedication of volunteers offering their efforts to the HeroWork cause. Everything from the actions to the dialogues are full of inspiration and positive energy.

As someone who has quickly become integral to HeroWork and its leadership initiatives, we are sure to see more great developments from Annette.

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