8 community leading mothers in Windsor-Essex County on advice their mothers gave them

Even mothers have mothers and as generations pass, the lessons and advice gets passed on.

This Mother’s Day, we checked in with eight mothers that help lead the community in Windsor-Essex County and asked them about the advice they got from their mothers and how it informs the way they live and parent. 

Lisa Gretzky, MPP Windsor West

Lisa Gretzky is the Member of Parliament for Windsor West.

“First thing that comes to mind is boys are trouble,” she said. “But the one that I carry through my life and now pass onto my daughter and she’ll pass on to my new granddaughter is that you just got to love your kids unconditionally. Be patient, be kind,” she said.

“The second piece of advice my mother gave me is that every woman should have their own bank account. They should have money of their own and that’s something I’ve also passed on to my daughter is that every woman should be independent.”

Pamela Mizuno, Chief of Windsor Police Service

Pamela Mizuno is the Chief of Windsor Police Service (Chris Ensing/CBC)

“I am sure she did not realize how crucial this advice would be, but in today’s climate I feel this is most appropriate: ‘Wash your hands before you eat,'” she said.

“While she may have worried about me in the role of being a police officer, my mother never doubted my abilities to do the job. She always implored that I could do anything I wanted if I worked hard enough. She instilled in me a great sense of confidence and a work ethic that I have carried throughout my career.”

Jessica Sartori, CEO John McGivney Children’s Centre

Jessica Sartori is CEO John McGivney Children’s Centre. (Therese Hounsell)

“She always encouraged me to be myself,” Sartori said. 

“Work hard, keep a focus on who you are and follow those dreams. Everybody is a unique person and just be yourself. You’re not going to be for everyone but that’s OK, that’s what makes everyone special.”

Barb Holland, business administrator at Holland Benefit groups

Barb Holland is Business administrator at Holland Benefit groups (Submitted by Barb Holland)

“The best advice my mom ever gave me was to be patient and to wait because things always turn out if you give it the benefit of time,” she said.

“No matter what goes on in your life, family is number one. They’ll be beside you when things are great. They’ll be beside you when things aren’t so good and they’ll support you in any new endeavours that go on and I have found that to be true with my own children.”

Nour Hachem-Fawaz, president and founder of Build a Dream

Nour Hachem-Fawaz is the president and founder of Build-A-Dream. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Hachem-Fawaz said.

“I just saw how many challenges my mom’s been able to persevere through and how resilient she really is and I feel that piece advice always sticks with me through the most difficult of times. And life does have a lot of obstacles and it’s really empowered me to stay on the right path and to continuing on persevering forward. And it reminded me that we all have some inner strength that can get us through those difficult times.” 

Remy Boulbol, past Ontario Liberal candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh/community advocate

Remy Boulbol ran as a liberal candidate in a 2013 by-election in Windsor-Tecumseh. She is also an outspoken community advocate. (Jason Viau/CBC)

“My mom was raising four of us on her own. We were living in Detroit, where we were born and raised, on the west side of Detroit with nothing. She couldn’t really work. She did the best that she could and we didn’t really have anything at all but didn’t realize how very little we had because she would always have us out doing other things for other people,” Boulbol said.

“The best advice that she gave me was that while we might not have very much, we can always do very much.” 

Joanna Conrad, executive director of Youth Diversion

Joanna Conrad is the executive director of Essex County Youth Diversion. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

“To be careful about the way I behave because one day I may have children that turn out very much like myself and I’ll know what it’s like to be a mom,” Conrad said. 

“Perseverance. Sometimes you don’t always get what you want right away, you have to work for it and I know that you need to try and keep trying and even when things don’t necessarily go your way, perseverance will ultimately, kind of, get you through,” she said.

Conrad’s daughter Vivienne was born with Down Syndrome.

She said that having moved to Canada from Poland when she was 5-years-old with her family taught her perseverance.

“I think that advice or those lessons I learned in life were for sure something that I brought with me into this journey when my daughter was born,” she said.

Jo-Anne Gignac, Windsor ward 5 councillor

Jo-Anne Gignac is the city councillor representing Ward 5. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

“Mum taught us lots of lessons and I was lucky because I had strong grandmothers, too,”  Gignac said.

“I guess the most valuable [lesson] from all of these women would have been this: there really are no mistakes in life, only opportunities that you can learn from, and boy, I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life. And when those things happen, reflecting on how you can learn from them and move on has really been a valuable tool.” 

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