Why I joined the Glebe Report Board

And why you should consider it too

By Shabana Ansari

For 48 years, the Glebe Report (GR) has been the paper of record for the Glebe and nearby neighbourhoods, keeping residents informed, amused and occasionally outraged with local news, events and opinions, and providing a vehicle for residents to speak out on local issues. It’s an independent paper known for its informative and thought-provoking articles and features on local people, homes, businesses, issues and events.

While the GR’s production and distribution is handled by a small team of volunteers consisting of an editor, copy editor, layout person, advertising manager and proofreaders, as well as a webmaster, a social-media coordinator and an army of deliverers, a board of directors is responsible for the governance and overall affairs of the Glebe Report Association (GRA), the non-profit organization that publishes the GR.

We are currently looking to invite more people from the community to join the board.

Here is an account of what motivated each of us to join and of our experiences of serving on the board.

Andy Joyce, Co-chair
I have been on the GRA board for seven years. I joined because I was interested in being a part of a not-for-profit board with local connections. I was already a director on other not-for-profit boards, but none of them had a local perspective.

During my time at the GRA board, I have certainly learned more about our community, especially its stores and restaurants. I have spent more time reading the Glebe Report. Earlier, I tended to concentrate on work and national and international news. This did not leave me much time for local news and interests.

Another great benefit was the pleasure of meeting other interesting board members, most of whom I had not met previously even though I have lived for 50 years in the Glebe. COVID-19 has had an impact, but it seems we will be able to meet in person in the near future.

Beatrice Keleher Raffoul
More than eight years ago, a former chair of the board invited me to get involved. We had worked together on community issues through the Glebe Community Association. I thought, why not? My children and I, and now just me, have delivered the Glebe Report for at least 35 years. It is a wonderful, largely volunteer-driven newspaper that tells our stories and discusses news and issues of importance to our neighbourhood, and I wanted to know more about what it takes to publish it. I have learned that and more.

But of course, any involvement in an organization is all about the people you serve with and the people you get to know while serving. There are always challenges, including some tough decisions, but we have been working hard to ensure that our community newspaper evolves with the times. I am proud of the work being done to increase our online presence. The production team is fabulous. All in all, it has been a rewarding experience.

Jennifer Humphries, Co-chair
I joined the GRA board in September 2018. I’ve read the Glebe Report since I moved to the Glebe in the 1980s. I admire its capacity to include local happenings that wouldn’t get noticed anywhere else – my elderly mother’s purse being snatched comes to mind! – while featuring issues of moment from the municipal level to the international. It’s a great community newspaper, and making it so takes community volunteers. I had been writing a column about trees for a couple of years and had a highly favourable impression of how editor Liz McKeen responds to contributions. When I saw an ad for board members, and after speaking with a friend who was then serving on the board, I emailed the co-chairs to express my interest. I wanted to help support the continued strength and growth of the Glebe Report, especially how social media can engage new groups of readers who are less inclined to pick up a physical newspaper.

I’ve met a whole new group of neighbours who are part of the production team and board of directors. They are a passionate, diverse group. I also have a deeper understanding of the nuts and bolts as well as the vision required to ensure a paper’s relevance and value for the community.

John MacNab
I joined the GRA board eight years ago. I was asked by a then board member to join and was happy to pitch in.

As a kid, I delivered the paper and was excited every time a friend or I was mentioned in a story. I’ve always considered the Glebe Report to be an important part of our community. I have met some very interesting people in my role on the board. I had young kids when I started so adult conversation was welcome. Most importantly, I also got to know some new neighbours.

Line Lønnum, Treasurer
I have been a member of the GRA board and its treasurer since 2018. I saw a notice in the Glebe Report about the need for new board members a few months after I first moved to the Glebe. Having a background in local newspapers, I thought getting involved would be a good way to get to know the community. I also didn’t really know anyone in the Glebe, so I thought joining the board would be a good way to meet neighbours, and that turned out to be right.

Being a board member has been a very positive experience. It has given me great insights into local issues, and I am very happy to have met many people in the neighbourhood. Being new to the area, it was also a good way to get recommendations from local experts and to get to know all the great things the Glebe has to offer. As I am now about to go on maternity leave, I am happy to feel included and more knowledgeable about our great community.

Patricia Lightfoot
I joined the GRA board in 2016. A neighbour who was associated with the Glebe Report suggested I join the board because I worked in publishing. She also noted the preponderance of men on the board at that time and, thus, the need for more women. I’m happy to say that we now have a quite balanced board in that respect, though it would be good to have a greater diversity of life experiences and perspectives represented.

Being on the board has helped me re-establish my connection with the community, which had diminished once my children left high school. Contributing to the board’s varied activities, such as engaging a volunteer to run the Glebe Report’s social media, the installation of the painted newspaper boxes on our streets and delivering papers as needed, has given me a greater appreciation of the neighbourhood and its many volunteers and a greater sense of belonging. I should add that the regular board meetings and the dedicated members of the paper’s production team are always very pleasant. We get a lot done in a good-humoured fashion.

Shabana Ansari
I’ve been on the board for just over a year now. Since I came to the neighbourhood in 2018, the Glebe Report was my first glimpse into the local community – the people who lived here, the shops and businesses, the social events and activities. I eagerly looked forward to receiving my copy every month and even started writing for the Glebe Report every now and then.

I considered joining the board when I saw a call for new board members last year. It was the first few months of living through a global pandemic, and I was starting to feel a bit isolated. I thought joining the board would be a great way to meet new people (even if it was virtually!) and hopefully lead to a feeling of being connected to the community.

The last 12 months as a board member have been interesting and enriching – I have received great insights into the unique and vibrant Glebe community and enjoyed listening to the experiences of other members (some of whom have been living in the Glebe for decades) and sharing my own thoughts and ideas with them.

Steve Zan
I have been on the board for about five years. Retirement prompted me to join. I had a long career in the aerospace industry, a global business that involved extensive travel. In retirement, I wanted to contribute to something with a local focus and to work with people who came to the table with career paths and experiences that were different from mine.

During my time on the board, I’ve learned how much talent and dedication are inherent in the local community. I’ve learned how much goes on “behind the scenes” each month to produce something like the Glebe Report, both in terms of individual effort and as teamwork.

Vaughn Guy
I have been on the GRA Board for about a year, since just before the pandemic started to impact us all so dramatically.

What prompted me to join was a question from Andy (co-chair), asking if I had any interest in joining the board. I thought it over and talked with my wife, Mary Ann, and decided that it would be a capital thing to do. As expected, I had a conversation with a couple of board members (Patricia and Steve), and I was introduced at the next board meeting. I was pleased to join, as the Glebe Report is such an integral part of the community. I wanted to be part of my community and hopefully be able to help in some small way. I had the experience of being a board member with the GCA, and the GRA was another important part of our community jigsaw.

I continue to be so impressed by the level of commitment and the quality of people volunteering in our community as exemplified in our board. In addition, the wider contribution of so many others in the distribution of the paper is impressive. The amount of involvement and the selfless efforts of so many people in the GRA, the GCA, Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) and other community groups is what makes the Glebe a true community.

 Membership in the Glebe Report Association is open to people 18 years of age or older who currently live, work or study in the Glebe. If you are interested in joining the board of directors or would like more information, please email chair@glebereport.ca.

Shabana Ansari is a member of the Glebe Report Association Board of Directors.

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