Published October 25, 2023 15:30
To celebrate Women’s History Month, BGC Ottawa is shining the spotlight on a woman who has made significant contributions to the Club and positively impacted its Members, countless families throughout the city and her many colleagues over the years.
When you walk through the doors of BGC Ottawa’s Ron Kolbus Clubhouse, expect to be greeted by a sunny smile and a warm welcome. Straight ahead is the office of an incredibly special person – for 23 years she has graced our halls and tirelessly worked to uphold and elevate the values of the Club. She has worn many hats and touched even more lives.
Patricia “Pat” Taggart accepted her first role with BGC Ottawa in October 2000, shortly after Thanksgiving, as Unit Secretary. Over the years, her role has ebbed and flowed – finance, administration, registration, advancement, programs and human resources – building her reach and profound understanding of the inner workings of the Club.
It was a notable moment in Taggart’s early career to become a permanent full-time team member after just five years, no small feat at the time. Now part of BGC Ottawa’s People & Culture team, Director Laura Milsom raves about how valuable Taggart’s extensive knowledge has been in their seven months working together. “You get to know the Club in a different way, through Pat’s eyes,” said Milsom.
But Taggart’s history with BGC Ottawa extends far beyond her employment. She first attended dances at the Centertown location back when girls were only permitted to join the fun on Friday nights. When she had a family, her children attended the Ron Kolbus Clubhouse and Camp Smitty, meeting other “Club Kids,” including BGC Ottawa Chief Executive Officer Adam Joiner.
“Pat’s selflessness and deep connection to the community has positively impacted many families,” said Joiner. “She is a role model, constantly giving and leading by example.”
Along with supporting the Clubhouses, Taggart has played a key role when it comes to Camp Smitty. She currently leads camp registration and works tirelessly with families to ensure all children and youth, regardless of their background or financial means, have an opportunity to attend camp.
BGC Ottawa’s Manager of Camp and Outdoor Education, Matt Singer, was more than eager to share stories and anecdotes about all the children and youth who lend their success at camp to Taggart. “She helps to dismantle barriers and gives them the opportunity to gain experience, grow, learn and play,” said Singer.
While Ron Kolbus Clubhouse Manager, Tim Boisvert, added that “Pat must connect with many families across Ottawa when doing registration for camp, further strengthening her connection and lengthening her reach within the community.”
We asked Taggart how she felt BGC Ottawa helped to empower girls and women in Ottawa. “It allows young, single and working mothers to support their families without having to worry about their child(ren). For young Members, it levels the playing field, so everyone feels they have an equal opportunity to experience new things, develop confidence and to be heard.”
“We need to give girls a voice and encouragement. Do not shrug off the opinions of anyone, no matter who they are. Be patient and listen. Everything you hear can be valuable. Stop what you are doing, take a moment to show you are interested by looking directly at a person and listen to what they have to say,” added Taggart.
Like many of her colleagues, Taggart notes that there has been positive change in her time here, but there is a significant need for organizations like BGC Ottawa to continue to provide barrier-free opportunities to children and youth. Current and future generations need access to a variety of high-quality programs and services, so they can make a positive impact in the community as good citizens and leaders. But as an organization, we can only succeed with dedicated and committed Staff, community partners and volunteers.
Across the board, Taggart’s teammates agree that she is the embodiment of her own words. She listens, encourages, empowers and gives. Selfless and humble to a fault. BGC Ottawa would not be where it is today without her countless contributions and the unwavering support of her colleagues, its Members and the community.
“Pat has a very strong presence, and she is an excellent ambassador for our organization,” said Boisvert. Taggart attributes a lot of her success to mentors such as Danelle Nearing-Guibord, Dan Rees, Brad Spooner and Boisvert, among others – what she does not realize (or at least, will not admit) is how many others attribute their success to HER.
BGC Ottawa is extremely grateful to have Patricia “Pat” Taggart as a longstanding team member, mentor and leader. But we know we cannot keep her forever. Singer said it best... “No one deserves a rest more than Pat, but I’ll be devastated when she’s not in her office anymore.”
Until then, you can look forward to seeing her beaming, busy self as you walk through the doors of the Ron Kolbus Clubhouse – holding down the fort, in the middle of the action, at the heart of the organization.