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Community recognizes a great leader, Pat Watson

By Don Fennell

Published 11:00 PDT, Tue June 25, 2019

Last Updated: 4:17 PDT, Tue June 25, 2019

Passionate and capable. Two important attributes race car drivers must possess to have any chance of earning the checkered flag.

Passionate and capable. Two important attributes race car drivers must possess to have any chance of earning the checkered flag.

Fittingly, these are also qualities Pat Watson, race car driver, also has in spades off the track.

Renowned for her many decades of exceptional service to the community, Watson is stepping down as chair of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG) this week leaving the service agency with an impossible void to fill.

“I have been in the work world for 50 years and without a doubt she is the best leader I have worked for or with,” says RCRG president and chief executive officer Ed Gavsie. “Her experience and knowledge is second to none I’ve ever come across.”

Gavsie continues: “She does everything with style and grace. In her four years as chair not once has she ever yelled at me. She is incredibly calm in the face of any crisis. You don’t become chair or president of a board if you’re not recognized as being a leader by your peers.”

He also advises not to interpret Watson’s quiet nature and modesty as a lack of toughness.

“To use a hockey analogy, I often say about Pat that she’s not afraid to go into tough corners. If something has to be done she takes it on without any fear.”

Watson is proud of the path RCRG is on.

“Being part of the community with shared values and making a difference really explains what RCRG supports as the hub for volunteering and giving in Richmond,” she says. “Ed has provided the organizational leadership and support to the board, (and) we have developed a strong succession plan to seamlessly continue with both governance and support of all the programs. Collectively we have championed ideas into action. I am proud of the diversity of the people who came forward and committed their ideas, energy and resources to all these projects.”

After making her opening remarks at RCRG’s 47th annual general meeting last Wednesday at the Caring Place, Watson called on Mayor Malcolm Brodie to share a few thoughts from the city. She was surprised when Brodie called her back to the podium to extend a heartfelt “thank you” for her many years of service the RCRG board and the community.

“You’ve been a very valued and involved contributor to our community for many, many years,” Brodie said. “I want to congratulate you for all your great work, but if you think you’re retiring or something, no way. We’re not letting you go.”

Presenting a plaque on behalf of his fellow Richmond MLAs Linda Reid, Teresa Wat and Jas Johal, Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap said he was “honoured and privileged” to say thank you a special friend and leader who has devoted the better part of the last decade and a half serving our community.

“This kind of resource any organization would want to keep, but I have a feeling Pat won’t be a stranger,” he said. “While she may have a bit more time to take part in some of her hobbies, our community continues to need you. Richmond is special because of dedicated, passionate individuals like you.”

Richmond Centre Member of Parliament Alice Wong also extended her congratulations from Canada’s Parliament with a certificate and the awarding of a prestigious House of Commons community medal to Watson.

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