Bob Morrow introduced our speaker today, our own Nancy Baker. He noted that if we were to compare Nancy’s joining us to a hockey trade, she would a blockbuster. We would be receiving a Wayne Gretsky, a superstar. Thank goodness we in DVSRC didn’t have to actually “trade” anyone. We just “received” a fabulous person, a committed Rotarian, and a member of the Dundas community.
Nancy Jo Baker (nee Wild) was born in Hamilton but raised in Tillisonburg by her parents Ed and Jo. Ed was a fine, funny hardworking man who rose through the ranks of the O.P.P .After his retirement from the force, he joined the Bench as a Justice of the Peace for Oxford County. He was so well regarded that he was asked to remain past the recommended retirement, twice.
Her Mom was a homemaker extraordinaire – a baker, a chef, a sewer, a crafter, a volunteer, a friend to all, and a Citizen of the Year. We can see that Nancy has followed the role models set by her parents. She was raised to care, to strive, to give back. As a young person, she played sports, involved herself in leadership activities and even volunteered as a candy striper at the local hospital.
Over 40 years ago, Nancy began her professional journey as an occupational therapist. Her first job was at Owen Sound General and Marin Hospital and so began her unwavering love of the Saugeen Peninsula.
Her hospital work continued in Toronto and in Hamilton, but she wondered if this was enough. Then, one day a representative from a wheelchair manufacturer gave a professional development presentation that changed the course of Nancy’s career.
Nancy was so captivated by the rep and the possibilities offered by the new products that she inquired about employment opportunities. That quickly led to an offer from Motion Specialties, then a new start up revolutionizing the care and mobility of people with physical challenges. For 20 years Nancy owned and managed Motion Specialty in Hamilton. After she retired from this she was a tutor at McMaster in the Occupational and Physical Therapy programme.
In her work life, she saw how creativity and perseverance combined to develop customized solutions to people’s problems. These principles she applies to this day to her own interests and life.
Nancy has been described as an out of the box thinker, and as a determined champion of those whom she serves
As a mother, Nancy is very proud of her two daughters, Joanna and Claire Harkness. Joanna is a McGill graduate and now a PICU nursing specialist in Vancouver. She is currently working on her MNP – Masters of Nurse Practitioner. Claire is also a R.N. (and DVSRC’s first Youth Exchange outbound student) who works at both St. Mary’s Hospital (cardiac) and Grand Valley Corrections. Like her sister, she is furthering her studies by taking a tropical disease specialization at the University of London. Nancy is married to Rob Baker.
For Nancy, Rotary’s 4 Way Test guides all her life be it business, service, or family. Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships, and will it be beneficial to all concerned.
In this past year we have witnessed Nancy’s creativity with Socks and Skivvies, Dine to Donate, and the renewed Club Plan. As the incoming Director of Youth Services, Nancy has committed herself to the leadership group of our club. She is cheerful, thoughtful, and very hard working. A ”new member” no longer, Nancy has been a great addition to our team.