Remarks from Adina Libin, Freiman Family Young Leadership Award recipient

Due to the online nature of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa Annual General Meeting, the community award recipients were unable to make acceptance speeches. Here are the remarks of Adina Libin, recipient of the Freiman Family Young Leadership Award and the Lawrence Greenberg Young Leadership Development Award.

Once upon a time, before the world changed entirely, I had a thought. In fact, I had a culmination of thoughts. I thought back to my first year at GGFL, when two of the partners, Jeff Miller and Alan Freed, both pulled me aside to tell me how joining boards would help my advancement at the firm. I thought back to how, when I decided that public practice was no longer the right fit for me, it was my board connections that led me to my current career at Westboro Flooring, and to Steven Kimmel, who became an incredible mentor and teacher. And I thought about the boards I’ve had the honour of sitting on through the years, and everything I’ve learned from each of them.

And then I thought, “Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

I think it’s because we, as a community, sell ourselves short. We ask for people to give of themselves by getting involved. What we forget to remind people is that when we give, we get so much back in return.

I have gotten so much from being a part of this community. Through an organized community event, I met my incredibly supportive husband, Micah Potechin, who often takes on more than his share of the housework so I can attend meetings. Through him, I got his parents Bram and Dodie, who help entertain my three beautiful children, Oren, Ariel and Liana, so the work can be done.

I get to send my kids to an amazing school and daycare, where I get to run into friends daily (when there are no pandemics), and where I know my children are loved even when I can’t be with them. I get to take part in community events that are thought-provoking, entertaining and heartwarming.

Growing up, both my parents were very involved in the Jewish community of Calgary. In fact, my mom, Marilyn, is still very involved in the Jewish community on a national level as she finishes her presidency of CHW. I can say now that I get it. It’s not just about what you can do for your community, but also how much you get when you do.

So here is my proposal: If you feel passionate about all the good your contributions can make to our community, ACT. It’s an incredible feeling when you can actually see the difference you are making. If you don’t know what kind of contribution you could make, ASK. There are resources within the community to help you find where you can make the most difference. Either way, DO. You will be amazed, looking back on it, at how much everyone has benefited because of it.