Who is Willi Nolan? — a brief biography

Willi_EarthDay2013

 

“Truth, integrity, responsibility, bravery and collective wisdom are impossible to defeat. 

It is getting easier to slay the sacred cows of the destroyers. 

The People of the Earth are a force more powerful now.” ~ Willi Nolan July 2014

With 40 years as an activist and eco-preneur, Willi (Wilhelmina) Nolan, is a mixed blood descendant of African slaves, the Mi’kmaq First People and Anglo-Celtic settlers. Her life’s work is the prevention of the destruction of human and ecosystem health using citizen action, ancestral teachings and education as key tools.

Over the years, she has served many communities with dedication as an advisor, Board member, administrator, partner and front line worker for various organizations in Canada, including MOHAWK TRADITIONAL COUNCIL AT KAHNAWAKE, LA FAMILLE, ELSIPOGTOG YOUTH COUNCIL; SIERRA YOUTH COALITION; FIRST NATION YOUTH COMMITTEE (Grassy Narrows); PASSAMAQUODDY NATION, NATIVE WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTRE (Toronto); INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH (IICPH); WOLOASTOQEWIYIK TRADITIONAL COUNCIL OF TOBIC; WABANAKI CONFEDERACY; FUNDY BAYKEEPER; WOMEN, ENVIRONMENTS, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (WEED, Toronto); COALITION FOR A GREEN ECONOMIC RECOVERY (Toronto); SIERRA CLUB OF CANADA; NEW BRUNSWICK ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK; UPRIVER ENVIRONMENT WATCH; CHRISTAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS; ABORIGINAL RIGHTS COALITION-ATLANTIC; WOMEN IN TRANSITION INC. and the EMILY STOWE SHELTER FOR WOMEN.

Willi’s diverse administrative, business and community skills include: ecosystem and human health research and advocacy, marketing and graphic advertising, non-profit administration, public speaking, program and policy development, grassroots advocacy, front line community organizer as well as Media and Public Relations.

In 1998, Willi proudly accepted a position as Project Coordinator for the INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH (IICPH), under world renowned epidemiologist, the late Dr. Rosalie Bertell. The Institute assists communities to substantiate environmental health risks where environmental disasters have occurred or are impending. Nolan’s work as senior staff with IICPH involved providing medical, scientific, environmental, organizational and other professional resources to meet the needs of communities concerned about exposures to hazardous substances. Willi continues to work with IICPH on an ad hoc basis to assist community-based citizen groups and contribute to the integrity of the Institute.

Ms. Nolan attained Vice Presidency of the SOCIAL PLANNING COUNCIL OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO over the years 1993 to 1995. She served as spokesperson for the WOMEN’S CED NETWORK of TORONTO (Women’s Community Economic Development Network), which supports and promotes sustainable financial opportunities for women of low income. In 1992, Willi received Ontario’s first cross-appointment to the CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES and CUSTODY REVIEW BOARDS.

In 1993, Willi became a co-chair of the COALITION FOR A GREEN ECONOMIC RECOVERY, founded by the late Jack Layton and which supports alternatives to replace environmentally hazardous industrial, technological and manufacturing processes. In 1994, in collaboration with ENVIRONMENT CANADA, the COALITION and GREENPEACE, she opened “Green Clean,” Canada’s first Multi Process Wet Cleaning operation — an alternative to the pollutant releasing processes used in conventional dry cleaning. Subsequent to participating in this initiative, Willi received a federal appointment to the ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERS FUND.

In 1991, Nolan achieved success in socially and environmentally responsible business with the launch of BIO BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL INC. The company marketed “terra femme” safer, environmentally friendly, non-chlorine feminine care products and demonstrated a high standard in public menstrual health education campaigns.

Committed to women’s issues, Willi is founding President of PROJECT ESPERANCE/PROJECT HOPE NON-PROFIT CORPORATION, which has provided supportive housing and services to women and children survivors of family violence in Toronto since 1987. In 1997, women from the Canadian “Shelter Movement” honoured Wilhelmina Nolan with its REMARKABLE WOMAN AWARD. Ms. Nolan walks with the traditional Native teachings that she has earned all through every day of her life and work.

She lives in rural New Brunswick, which she believes is one of the least contaminated places on the Earth.

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CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

(WILLI) WILHELMINA NOLAN

 

Profile

 

  • Over 30 years of experience in Marketing, Promotions, Electronic and Print Advertising.
  • Abiding respect for, knowledgeable and practised in Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Traditions.
  • Highly effective organizer with extensive administrative and grassroots experience.
  • Well developed skills in working with communities, especially capacity building.
  • Proven administrative expertise in developing networks for successful, sustainable community projects.
  • Solid reputation in Sustainable Community Economic Development.
  • Particular interest in Product Stewardship as related to Environmental and Human Health issues.
  • Over 25 years of progressive leadership with local, national and international organizations.

 


Community Work


 

1995 – present. International Institute of Concern for Public HealthToronto (iicph.org-see employment). Program Manager. Coordination of front line services related to international public health concerns from community environmental issues e.g. Land, Air and Water pollution, Human and Ecosystem Health Protection, Human Rights. Served as senior staff for IICPH from 1997 to 1999.


2008 – present. Grandmother-Elder, Elsipogtog Youth Council (EYC). Provided Volunteer Consulting services for founders of this organization for aboriginal youth. Duties include Event Coordination, Organizational Development, Ongoing Support to individual members.


2005 – 2007. Board Member, Sierra Club of Canada. Chair, Marketing Committee; Member, Ecological Justice Committee; Grandmother, Sierra Youth Coalition.


Woman warrior meme flag


2001. Water Protection Society– Consultant, Elsipogtog (Big Cove). Provided Community Consulting services for fledgling environmental health organization. Responsibilities included Public Relations, Event Coordination, Organizational Development.

http://nb.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/2001/07/19/nb_svcove010719


2000- 2001. Big Cove Restorative Justice Initiative – Member, Community Justice Panel, Elsipogtog (Big Cove); a community-based alternative justice delivery initiative. Panel members receive training and become resource persons for traditionally based Restorative Justice Healing Circles.


1986 – present. Project Esperance/Project Hope Non Profit Corporation – Founding President, Toronto. Headed the development of a $16 million, 111 unit supportive residential community to provide safe, affordable homes for women and children. Esperance is dedicated to fostering and nurturing peaceful family life, safe housing, and the protection and well-being of children. This Toronto organization also delivers referral and support services for women and children survivors of family violence. Managed the affairs of the non-profit, including staff, media, volunteer and government relations; lobbying; administrative and financial management; negotiations, contracts, and conflict resolution; fundraising; marketing and promotion; casework.


1993-1995. Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto – Vice-President, Board of Directors, Toronto. Committees: Social Assistance Policy Reform Group; Executive Committee; Organizational Capacity Task Team; Advisory Committee on Relationships and United Way.


1993 – present. Coalition for a Green Economic Recovery– Member and Co-Chair, Toronto. The Coalition promotes community based, sustainable, and ecologically sound business development to create wealth for local economies. Established “Green Clean,” a pilot alternative garment cleaning operation sponsored by Environment Canada; the Multi-Process Wet Cleaning operation successfully demonstrated a financially viable alternative to conventional toxic, chemical-based dry cleaning.


1995. Environmental Partners Fund – Member, National & Regional Evaluation Committees, Toronto. Member under Federal Appointment, Canadian Environment Minister. Reviewed, selected and allocated funding for environmental remediation projects.


1994 – 1995. Child and Family Service & Custody Review Boards (cross-appointments), Ontario, Canada. Member by Provincial Appointment, Order-In-Council and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Reviewed applications from Ontario youth in correctional, residential, emergency and secure treatment facilities, day nurseries and adoption licensees. Was a voting member of judicial tribunals for the resolution of the cases, completed annual reports and provided ongoing recommendations to Ministers and policy makers.

 


Business and Employment Experience


2005 – 2008, Host, Good Life Gathering – For 4 consecutive years, the Gathering provided opportunities for youth, Elders and community leaders to share knowledge and increase their abilities to live in harmony with nature and society. Spiritually and environmentally focused, participants gathered together for summer events and continued to work on projects throughout the year.


1999 – present Wilhelmina Nolan, Consultant– Private Consultant, Kent County, New Brunswick. Provides services to communities, businesses and individuals. Services include Consultation, Marketing and Promotional services, Sustainability & Resilience for Communities Economic and Organizational Development, Fundraising, Event Coordination, Public and Government Relations.


1997- 1999 International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH), iicph.org. – Project Coordinator. IICPH is a private non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide assistance to communities whose health is threatened by exposures to hazardous substances. Recipient of the 1986 Right Livelihood Award. Worked as Senior Staff directly under founding member the late Dr. Rosalie Bertell. Duties included finance, administration, spokesperson, fund raising and front-line project work with Board, citizen groups, environment, industry, government, science and medical professionals.


1992- 1999 Bio Business International Inc.– Contract Services – General Manager, Toronto. Directed the Marketing, Promotion and Administration for the corporation, spokesperson, major shareholder. Conceived import/export and marketing plan for body-friendly health and beauty products, public health education campaigns. Developed marketing strategy and materials for lines of body-friendly personal care products, including trade and Internet promotion for the company.


1988 – 1990 Women In Transition Inc. – Program Counsellor (Senior Counsellor), Toronto. Emergency shelter for women and children: Front-line counsellor, facilitated transition from crisis and return to the community. Provided referrals, advocacy, housing and support services. Served as Outreach and Liaison worker for the organization to government and sister agencies.


1988-1989 Metropolitan Toronto Association for Community Living– Crisis Intervention Worker, Toronto.Resource development, advocacy, education, appropriate housing, residential placements and crisis intervention for developmentally handicapped adults for MTACL’s Client Services Department.


1972 – 1998 Python Marketing & Promotions & Versatel Corporate Services – Contract Services, Toronto.Marketing, Print & Graphic Advertising services. Marketing support for G.H. Halpenny, a principal of both companies. Executive sales and production of marketing tools. Accounts included Ronald McDonald House, Labatt Breweries and Benson & Hedges. The development of marketing packages for product manufacturers and developers.

 


Education


 

1971 – 1973: Street Child

1974 – 1976: Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Major: Social Sciences, French Language.

1983 – present: Mother, Grandmother.

Recent Certificates: Natural Step – Sustainability Step By Natural Step; Sustainability 101 – Practical sustainability education aimed at businesses, governments, communities and individuals that want to move strategically towards sustainability. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Electoral Officer; INAC Elections Investigations.


Personal Interests


 

Traditional culture and healing medicines, dance, music, literature, gardening, crafts, cooking, simple living.