Liliane Lessard: A volunteer who “delivers the goods”

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Liliane Lessard

Liliane and D’Arts et de rêve

Much of what you know about D'Arts et de rêves (DAR) has come to you thanks to Liliane Lessard. Whether it be via this newsletter or the more occasional communications you receive – notices, calls for volunteers, press releases, etc., you can recognize the writing style of this friend of DAR, a faithful volunteer since the very first beginning and a committed and responsible member of the Communications Committee.

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Liliane's role in making known the great project that is D'Arts et de rêves and, by the same token, in shaping the public image of the organization. The concise yet friendly tone that makes the reader feel like part of the family is Liliane's signature.

There is in this inviting and unifying voice something essential for a non-profit organization (NPO) such as ours with bold objectives, whose very mission is to provide a meeting place between art and community. The ability to arouse people's interest, to make them feel included and personally challenged by a collective project to the point of wanting to participate in it and invest time and/or money is not a given. It is subtle yet powerful. Her voice encourages commitment.

If Liliane is good at rallying and motivating the troops, she herself is the first to volunteer, whether it be for a working bee in the park or as secretary at one of the many committee meetings, not to mention her vital role as writer-translator-publisher on the Communication Committee.

Her journey

To find out more about this super-volunteer, I went to meet Liliane at her home on a beautiful sunny May afternoon. Comfortably settled on the deck with a view of a small lake and a typical Sutton landscape, we talked about her life, her experiences, and the importance she gives to work well done.

“Born and bred” in Montreal, Liliane grew up in a diverse neighbourhood, with most of her neighbours and friends coming from English-speaking families. Like many who have lived in the Quebec metropolis, she learned English on the street. This bilingualism would later serve her well on the job market.

The time Liliane spent with the nuns provided her with a good classical education while igniting a bit of rebellion within her soul. Independent and curious by nature, Liliane forged her own path, drawn early on to literature and communication: a DEC in Literature, followed by a Certificate in Translation and a BAC specialising in English Literature... a choice that revealed her pragmatism, since books in English were much more affordable than books in French!

After a Certificate in Teaching, Liliane taught for eight years and then decided to go back to school. While doing a Master's degree in Educational Technology, she discovered the pleasure of working with adults and did so for more than twenty-five years as a Human Performance Consultant, helping to improve employee performance by, amongst other things, ensuring knowledge transfer.  This explains Liliane's mania for writing everything down, codifying everything, and organising information to better pass it on to others!

Through her work and her involvement in two professional associations and also in the Montreal Chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), of which she was president for a few years, Liliane met people from all over the world and was thus able to make friends while acquiring knowledge that she was then able to integrate into her work.  The numerous projects she completed and the references from her clients qualified her to obtain the Certified Performance Consultant (CPT) accreditation from ISPI; she was the first francophone to receive this accreditation.

Her love for story-telling

Indeed, her desire to document so as not to lose information is evident in The Story of D'Arts et de rêves, a work in progress that Liliane began when the organization was founded in 2016 and to which our budding archivist continues to add chapters. We also see it her Tributes to Volunteers, articles that highlight the investment of extraordinary people who often work behind the scenes, but without whom D’Arts et de rêve could not exist.

The schedule of our newsletter―one per season, with the publication programmed for the dawn of the solstice or the equinox, is also an idea of Liliane’s: "It’s important to create traditions and build expectation in people,” she explains.

It seems very fitting that this energetic, highly competent woman, generous with her time and talents, and who rarely bites her the tongue, should be the bearer of the vision and the accomplishments of the great team of D’Arts et de rêves in the community. We can't wait to read the next chapter of The Story of D'Arts et de rêves... coming to you on September 21st 2021.

Merci Liliane !

Natasha Evoy