Each week at Embrace Disruption we introduce you to an influential person in the digital, blogger, arts, culture, film, or media world! Every Thursday, you can check back at EDPR to find out who we think is particularly amazing at ‘embracing disruption’ within their respective industries. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Starlight Canada’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeannie O’Regan!
What’s your official job title, and where did you go to school?
- Chief Operating Officer, Starlight Children’s Foundation
- Ryerson University, Event Planning and Management
- George Brown, Business Management
Elevator pitch. Describe yourself in a nutshell (or sea shell, or any shell for that matter).
I am a successful meeting/event planner and operations executive with 20 years’ experience providing services and cultivating change. I have excellent hands-on skills in clarifying needs, creating opportunities, nurturing relationships, and growing profits.
I often refer to myself as an M&M … hard exterior shell but soft on the inside.
Why did you pursue what you’re doing now? What was the inspiration?
There’s a time in your life when you have to decide if your high-paying yet high-stress job is worth it. I truly believe that when you are passionate about something, you give your all to what you are doing – Starlight has given me that passion back. I know what I do has a positive impact on the lives of so many children and their families and that is food for my soul.
I’m inspired by my family and by the support they’ve given me. I’m inspired by children who struggle through illnesses day in and day out and yet can still smile. I am inspired by animals that are abused and yet still trust in humans.
What is the best part of your day-to-day?
Professionally – having a parent or child contact me about how we made a difference.
Personally – when my kids tell me they love me every morning. Unconditional love … it doesn’t get any better than that!
What’s the most challenging?
When I see pictures or hear stories of Starlight children who have passed, my heart breaks and I find myself giving my kids an extra squeeze when I get home.
If you took a look in the cliché crystal ball, what do you see for yourself?
All of life is experienced through the present moment; therefore the future does not exist. By the time tomorrow comes it is now the present moment!
How do you embrace disruption in your work and personal life?
As Charles Kettering once said, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” I have learned to embrace change … good and bad; it is about moving forward, learning from our successes and our failures and making the best of each moment.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
It would have to be the first event I planned on my own. It was the year 2000 and I had played a supporting role in dozens of events by then. This event was in its 20th-plus year and it was stale. It wasn’t expected to survive and they took a chance that I could breathe fresh life into it. It was a resounding success and went on to be the premier industry event in healthcare (in fact, the event is still held each year … my legacy lives on!).
Do you support any initiatives or charities? Tell us about it, and please provide links!
I’m a softie when it comes to those who can’t defend themselves. Children, animals, the elderly.
Starlight is obviously dear to my heart (www.starlightcanada.org) but I also support Plan Canada – the “Because I’m a Girl” campaign is brilliant. (http://plancanada.ca/BecauseIamaGirlOverview) and small community animal shelters.
Tell us what you see yourself doing at 65 years old.
Definitely retired but not idle! I want to sit on a Board to keep my mind sharp. Travel to experience new things. Enjoying life to its fullest in all regards!
Just for fun: if you had to pick one app in the whole APPVERSE, what would it be?
I’m a news geek! Zite is my go-to APP everyday. Zite analyzes feeds to create a magazine tailored my interests from a variety of sources. One-stop-shop reading!