2020 shares vision

The significant power of storytelling was on display last week at Pictou County 2020: Discover.

Held at Summer Street, the casual event featured 30 speakers from a variety of local businesses, organizations and groups speaking on their successes.

This event was hosted in partnership with the Municipal Economic Development Group, the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce and PULSE Pictou County. And it highlighted the power of positivity.

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The session was Pictou County 2020’s annual event and was well attended with organizers needing to enlarge the meeting space and set up additional chairs for the overflow.

Each of the 30 presenters had two minutes to speak on how they helping to create a healthy, united, thriving and bold community. It was a chance for participants to discover what others are doing and how co-operation can help grow a thriving community.

One of the hosts, Nancy MacConnell Maxner said, “This started in 2014 with people in conversation. We have the power within our community to change our story.”

MacConnell Maxner asked the audience, “What do you love about your community?” Then she encouraged audience members to turn to their neighbor and share their responses.

The evening began on a positive note with the talented sign language clients at Summer Street signing True Colors for the audience. Among the 30 participants sharing their stories were:

• Dorothy Doyle, Summer Street: “Our biggest success in our individuals who lead the way.”

• Mick O’Neil, Multicultural Association of Pictou County: “Our greatest success is our Fusion Festival.” This event has grown from its inception, thanks in part to the community which has been welcoming.

• Nissa Lee Hale, Somata Therapy, spoke about beginning her business as a one-woman show and growing it to include several employees with a growing list of clients. “Opportunity presents itself where intention exists,” she said.

• Kim MacKinnon, Summer Street, lauded local businesses. “There are more than 60 employers in Pictou County who employ our people,” she praised.

• Ron O’Brien of NOBL and the Michelin Development Fund spoke on the power of doing business locally.

• Cathy Munro, Bramble Hill Farms: “Pride in feeding my family fuels me! Don’t hold back,” she encouraged.

• Kristi Russell, New Glasgow Farmer’s Market, spoke of the increase in both vendors and traffic, highlighting the positivity from the community.

• Jack Kyte represented both the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce as well as Pictou Landing First Nation when he praised the spirit of co-operation with the First Nation’s new band office built by MacGregor’s in MacLellans Brook. Kyte also spoke about the welcoming atmosphere at the Newcomer Centre that is a partnership between the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce and Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library.

• Deborah Tupper has a new business coming this spring, Wanna Lick My Plate food truck. She said she is proud to own her own business and contribute to the community.

• Theckla spoke on behalf of the Pictou County Rainbow Community. “We are a part of this community,” she said, highlighting the events the organization has coming up.

• Jennifer DeCoste spoke on behalf of Engage Nova Scotia. “We can all become bigger by standing on the shoulders of other.”

• Troy Greencorn highlighted the successes and growth the deCoste Entertainment Centre has enjoyed by partnering with others.

• Amanda Hill and Naomi Veniot spoke on Pulse Pictou County and all of the activities this group enjoys. Hill also spoke about Pictou County Ultimate Frisbee and mentioned the professionals she knows that this club has attracted to Pictou County.

• New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks spoke on the success of her council’s Engage and Empower community sessions.

• Mary MacDonald, Virtues Project, was encouraged by seeing the “positive changes people are making in their lives.” She highlighted in particular the Starting Point program and its success.

• Clyde Fraser, New Glasgow deputy mayor, spoke on the Municipal Alcohol Project and the work it has involved.

• Robert Parker spoke on behalf of his business, West River Greenhouse and lauded the survival of agriculture in Pictou County. He thanked his late parents for starting the business. Wearing his municipal government hat, as warden of the Municipality of the County of Pictou, Parker addressed the progress of the Economic Development Working Group.

• Sally O’Neill, Active Pictou County, spoke of the barriers to participation and shared the work her organization does to combat them.

• Rae Gunn spoke about Community Recreation and Sport and the work it does, as well as Pictou County Partners.

• Sharon Henderson highlighted the success of Northumberland Windfield Inc. and mentioned the Spiddle Hill project in the North Shore.

• Lennie White informed the audience about the work WARM Hearts is doing to bring another refugee family to Pictou County.

• Carey Allan promoted the importance of art in the community. Businesses like her’s, Perfect Diversity, “promote conversation,” she said.

• Sharon Lynch shared the importance of groups like the Scotsburn 55-Plus Group in keeping an active community. “This just shows what seniors can do,” she praised. “Our success is increasing our membership and longevity.”

• Katie Stewart Snyder told the audience about her marketing business that gives her “the opportunity to work with people and businesses I admire.”

• Jenna Tait and Derrick Pierre, owners of The Commune, have a passion for the service industry. They are working to support the arts in their business and present new activities to county residents.

• Norm Ferguson spoke on leadership and coaching. “If you do what you’re passionate about good things happen.”

• The outcome for the evening was simple: people creating conversations and sharing success stories. This was the theme of Discover.

Mission accomplished.


Pictou County 2020 host Sally O’Neill prepares a storyboard prior to the Discover meeting last week. (Jardine photo)

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Jackie Jardine
Jackie is a Pictou County native and proud graduate of St. Francis Xavier University. She is a writer, editor and fledgling home cook. She has been in the newspaper business for almost three decades and jokes that she started when she was in her teens! She enjoys traveling, socializing and volunteering in her community.