Meet Marilyn Sewell
As the new Chair of the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) Foundation Board of Directors, Marilyn Sewell is committed to furthering the BCHS Foundation’s mission, using her experience and community connections to spread awareness about the need to give.
Marilyn has been a member of the BCHS Foundation Board of Directors since 2010, and her tenure at the Board table has helped her develop a vision for what she would like to accomplish as Board Chair. She described her responsibilities to include chairing effective board meetings so that her fellow volunteer members feel their time is well used; to contribute to the due diligence process of overseeing the great work happening at the BCHS Foundation; and to be a source of support for the BCHS Foundation staff.
“We are all there to support a strong healthcare system for our community,” she said. “All board members are volunteers and if they feel they are not heard or that their opinions are not considered, then I’m not doing my job.”
While the business of the Board is Marilyn’s key role, she is also committed to being the face of the Board in the community.
“I want to be out in the community and sharing our story any way I can,” she said.
The BCHS Foundation’s role is to raise critical funds to support the top priority needs for The Brantford General and The Willett, Paris. Support of the BCHS Foundation helps purchase medical equipment that is not paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provide essential resources to maintain the exceptional level of compassionate patient care, and invest in new and innovative technology.
To that end, Marilyn wants community giving to be a personal and positive response to a demonstrated need for support at the BCHS. She’s making it her promise to engage the community and spread the important message to every citizen that giving what they can is valued and means everything to our organization.
“Making a monthly commitment can be very manageable and still very meaningful to the BCHS Foundation. Together, we have demonstrated we can accomplish great results,” she said.
Marilyn also stressed the value of third-party events that bring this message to the community from a different perspective. While many might know some larger 3rd party campaigns that benefit the BCHS Foundation such as the Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie fundraiser, the Closet Door Store, the Conestoga Trail Bluegrass and Gospel Festival, or the Brantford Comedy Festival, there are also many smaller events that individuals or groups can provide much-needed help.
“I am completely in awe of the creative and amazing ways that individuals and groups raise money to support the BCHS Foundation,” Marilyn said. “From lemonade stands to workplace events such as bbq’s or silent auctions, people in our community are showing they care.”
Third party events can be simple and fun, but they also instill pride about making an important contribution to their community. Not only do third-party events raise funds, they also increase awareness of the BCHS Foundation and its role.
When community comes together to benefit the BCHS Foundation, their efforts are appreciated and valued, a core principle carried by all BCHS Foundation Board members and staff.
“We all recognize that giving to the BCHS Foundation comes from the heart and we are so appreciative of people helping support a strong healthcare system for our community,” said Marilyn. “We need the community to realize that every dollar counts. When we all give, then patient equipment and resources will be available to us and our loved ones in our time of need.”
Marilyn gained her own understanding of this urgent and important need for support early on in her involvement with the BCHS Foundation Board of Directors.
“As a board member, one of the events that cemented my commitment to the Foundation was the tour (of the hospital sites),” she said, adding the tour gave her an understanding of the cost of patient equipment needed to properly operate the BCHS – for everything from wheelchairs to vital sign monitors to state-of-the-art MRI’s.
“We are making a significant contribution to the everyday lives of patients.”
“I was looking for a new opportunity and something special to me,” she said about her commitment to the BCHS Foundation Board of Directors in 2010. Part of the board’s succession plan is to provide board members with the opportunity to serve in different positions, and Marilyn was approached by the incoming chair early in 2012 to serve as treasurer. From there she served as second vice-chair and first vice-chair before moving into the Chair’s position in January 2015.
“I was surprised, pleased and very honoured,” she said. “I felt it was a unique opportunity for me to truly give back to the community that I live in. My family and I have used the BCHS and I wanted to show my gratitude through my financial support and my time as a volunteer.”
Her involvement in a variety of other organizations over the years has helped her gain the experience she brings to the BCHS Foundation Board. Marilyn’s volunteer involvement includes prior leadership in her church, 4-H, and other community organizations. Her career with the Ontario Public Service which is exclusively with the agricultural and rural sector’s, also focuses on policy development, organizational effectiveness and relationship management.
Marilyn lives near Paris where she is married, and a proud mother of three. When she is not cheering on her children or supporting their activities, she enjoys her book club, movies, and staying in touch with friends.