MANITOULIN—A familiar hand holds the tiller at Manitoulin Family Resources (MFR) as the community services organization navigates new waters.
Executive Director Marnie Hall Brown joined MFR as a full time employee in 1994 with the Haven House women’s shelter and has most recently worked in outreach focussed on domestic violence and sexual assault. She moved into outreach in 2001, working with groups across the MFR catchment area that stretches from Manitoulin and the North Shore, from Sagamok to Nairn Centre. “It is a large catchment area,” she admits.
Ms. Brown is listed as Marnie Hall Brown with the College of Social Workers, but she insists the shorter appellation works just as well. “I’m not exactly the most formal,” she laughs.
Ms. Brown noted that although she has worked with MFR for a fair bit of time, nonetheless her first two months at the helm has been largely taken up with learning about the rest of the large organization as it integrates the new Help Centre building in Mindemoya and the expanded Hub Centre daycare in Little Current into the organization’s operations. “It is a huge learning curve,” she admits with a laugh, “but I am enjoying every minute of it.”
“I am very pleased to have been given this opportunity to work with the staff of Manitoulin Family Resources, in this way, at this time,” said Ms. Brown. “I expect that we will be facing some challenges ahead with respect to not only the changing political climate in which we find ourselves, but also in needing to anticipate and being creative in meeting the needs of our communities.”
Ms. Brown said that a large part of her enjoyment is the excellent cadre of staff she inherited when she took over the top administrative position.
“I have the benefit everyday of working alongside people who have chosen their fields based on their passion for their area of work and in providing services to those who find themselves vulnerable,” she said. “That is a common thread in all of our services, whether it is a child learning a new skill through a developmental stage, a victim of abuse, or someone needing to access food. I am confident that we will work together to meet the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to doing so, collaboratively, with our community partners.”
Ms. Brown said that she does not see MFR taking on major new initiatives in the immediate future, noting that MFR has “excellent community partners” with whom the organization can work and support to improve social services in their target sectors.