One of my greatest joys is that through choices I’ve made, I now have the opportunity to empower others to do amazing things while impacting and transforming lives.

What a rush!

Yesterday, the Enactus NSCC Pictou team won the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge and were runners-up of the Scotiabank Eco-Living Challenge at the Enactus Canada (Atlantic) Regional Competition.


To say we were shocked would be an understatement.

We believe that the projects we are doing are making a positive impact, but we are still a new team (18 months old) and were competing against 13 other really amazing projects from other post-secondary institutions.

When the winners for the Scotiabank Eco-Living challenge were being read, and we heard, “runner-up: Nova Scotia Community College, Pictou Campus” we looked at one another and screamed… and hugged… and cried! What? It was unbelievable!

We had our photos taken and then returned to our seats, still shaking our heads in disbelief, when we heard that our colleagues, NSCC Waterfront Campus had won the category!! We were so thrilled for them and the adrenaline was flowing.

The next category being announced was the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Regional Challenge. The second runners-up and first runners-up were announced, and then we heard words along the lines of, “I don’t even need the envelope for this one. They are not going to be expecting this, but they are a very special group: Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge Regional Champion is Nova Scotia Community College, Pictou Campus”! 

Even I got teary at that. We were crying… and laughing… and screaming… and hugging in disbelief. We went on stage as a group and accepted our award. What an absolutely amazing feeling!

The power, energy, happiness, and adrenaline that you feel in the moment is indescribable  unless you’ve experienced it. These awards are validation that the work we are doing is making a positive impact.

Enactus Canada is part of a worldwide organization partnering post-secondary students with community to enable progress in a sustainable way through entrepreneurial activities.

We presented three of our projects in four categories: “Raising the Roots”, a partnership with the youth homeless shelter in our area; Creating A $olution for Her (CA$H), a series of financial education workshops we’ve been offering to women at our campus; and “Delightful Dining” a brand new partnership with Summer Street Industries, working with their clients who have an intellectual disability label to prepare and deliver heathy homemade food to seniors in our area.

The accolades are fantastic, but the projects we are doing are what is important. Through our partnerships, we are not only transforming the lives of our own students, but also the lives of those in our community who are impacted through our projects.

I am so proud of our team (we have other active members who did not join us at the Regional Exposition) and am so excited that this is just the beginning. For eight out of ten students, this is their first year with the team, so had no idea what to expect, but they shone! My goal is to take all ten of our presenters to the National competition in Vancouver in May, so hopefully our fundraising efforts will allow that. We are fortunate to have supportive administration both at the campus level and at the college level.

By being a member of Enactus, the learners involved get a much richer post-secondary educational experience. They build friendships and networks, and learn to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. They learn organization, time-management, report writing, critical thinking, networking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and presentation skills. They become inspired by being part of a global organization of people trying to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Of the ten students who attended Regionals, we had students representing Business, Social Services, and Practical Nursing. One student approached me and said, “I am so happy I joined this team because I would never have had the opportunity to get to know all of you otherwise.”  Another student told me, “It’s not what I learned in the classroom that I’m going to remember looking back, it’s moments like these.”

When you invest in Enactus, you invest in a better world for us all.”



Enactus NSCC Pictou (Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Regional Champions and Scotiabank Eco-Living Challenge runners-up) with Enactus NSCC Waterfront (Scotiabank Eco-Living Regional Champions and TD Entrepreneurship Challenge Regional Second Runners-up) #nsccproud


The Scotiabank Youth Empowerment and Scotiabank Eco-Living presentation team: Kelyn Palmer, Holly Klein, Bethany Ripoll, Emma Spaulding, and Hailey Conley (l-r)

To see a range of photos from our two days at the conference, please click here.

Real hands-on learning

One of the core values at NSCC is hands-on learning. Rather than just teaching the learners in our classrooms how to do something, we actually get them to do it. Last night was hands-on learning on a grand scale. Our tourism and culinary teams fed 292 people at a Tribute to the Honourable MP Peter MacKay, with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (or “Ben’s Dad” to some of the students) featured as keynote speaker. Tickets were $300 per plate and it was an event that many of them may never experience the likes of again.

One of the things we teach in our program is confidentiality, so I won’t go into too many details, but I will say that it was a lovely -but long – evening. The Final Touch in Stellarton did a beautiful job of transforming our campus gym into a ballroom, and the tourism class set the tables in blue & white. Attendees began the evening in the cafeteria where the volunteer fire department ran a bar and we served hors d’oeuvres with some live jazz setting the mood. Dinner was a mixed green salad with balsamic vinagrette, boneless cornish game hens stuffed with cranberry rice pilaf and a wild mushroom sauce served with tomato veggie baskets, then lemon meringue cheese cake with creme anglaise and raspberry coulis for dessert.

Some of us did get to meet the former Prime Minister (he came over to me and shook my hand!) and both Jamie Baillie and Peter MacKay were kind enough to join us upstairs in private after the celebration to chat and take photos. Each student will receive a letter from Peter MacKay to put into their Portfolios.

When people ask me what the best part of running a B&B is, my answer is always the people we host. We never know who we will have sleeping in our home, or having breakfast at our table. Over the past 11 years, we’ve had many interesting and accomplished people stay with us and we welcome each and every guest with equal enthusiasm. We had the conversation with our learners that regardless of their own political stripes, each guest needed be treated with respect and discretion. We needn’t have worried. The event went very well and the team rose to the occasion.

Hands-on learning at its best!

Nostalgia in Central Nova

Nostalgia in Central Nova


The lights are up and Kelsey adds final touches to the tables before the guests arrive.


Chef Gilles Godin oversees his learners.


While tourism was prepping the dining room; culinary was prepping the food. (I couldn’t believe how calm it was in the kitchen – what a team!)

Margaret (Office Admin), Heather (Business Admin), Samantha (Office Admin) at the coat check. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Admin

Margaret (Office Admin), Heather (Business Admin), Samantha (Office Admin) at the coat check. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Admin


Table settings before rolls, salads, dressings, menus, etc. were added. The culinary students made NSCC chocolate bars as a take-away favour for each guest.

Michaela, Tourism Management, gets ready to serve. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Administration

Michaela, Tourism Management, gets ready to serve. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Administration

Plating 300 desserts

Plating 300 desserts (Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau)


Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, had to leave after his keynote address, but took the time to come and acknowledge us.

Part of the Tourism and Culinary team with Jamie Baillie, Leader of the Provincial Conservative Party

Part of the Tourism and Culinary team with Jamie Baillie, Leader of the Provincial Conservative Party and Senator Tom McInnis


Most of the Tourism & Culinary team (along with Business & Office Administration volunteers) with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Senator Tom McInnis and his wife, Brenda. I made it into this one!


Chef Gilles Godin and the Honourable MP Peter MacKay


Chef Gilles Godin with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney


We are a learning facility. It’s unconventional, but we manage to get the job done. Students, faculty and the Academic Chair working on getting the dishes cleared! (The automotive shop became the dish pit!)

Alex sings O Canada in four languages at NSCC Pictou Convocation

Better late than never…

The 2013 Convocation Ceremony at my campus of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) fell on June 21st, which is National Aboriginal Day. In my opinion, Convocation is the most special day of the year – the day staff & students work so hard toward for two years (or more). This year’s ceremony was extra special for me for a couple of reasons: (1) It was my first Convocation ceremony at Pictou Campus; and (2) our son Alex sang “O Canada” at the beginning of the ceremony in English, Mi’kmaq, French, and American Sign Language.  He was accompanied on piano by fellow faculty member, Kirby Coolen. (Who also happens to be Alex’s godmother’s first cousin – it’s always a small world in Nova Scotia!)

Today I came across the webcast and I thought I would share it.  Alex’s O Canada begins about eight-minutes in.

2013 NSCC Pictou Campus Convocation

Higher Education

Staff & faculty at NSCC Pictou Campus are buzzing with excitement today as we prepare for Convocation tomorrow (June 21st). We’ll have close to 275 graduates crossing the stage beginning at 11:00 AST. Our son Alex has the honour of singing O Canada at the beginning of the ceremony, in English, French, and Mi’Kmaq, and he will sign it with American Sign Language at the same time. The ceremony will be live-streamed via webcast. If you are interested in watching,  you can click on the following link:

NSCC Pictou Campus Graduation

In other exciting news, I just received word that I’ll be attending my third course at Cornell University (Strategic Financial Management for Hotels) during the first week of July, moving me one step closer to completing my certification in Strategic Hospitality Management. I am so thankful to the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada Opportunites Agency for this opportunity!

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence,
regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

~Vince Lombardi


Recognition of Excellence 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy being  involved in the Nova Scotian tourism industry as a whole. I was on the board of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association (NSBBA) from 2005-2011, the board of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) fom 2008-2012, and am still the NSBBA representative on the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC). Wow that’s a lot of acronyms…

Because of these affiliations, I’m often lucky enough to be invited to differet industry events. My favourite event of the year (and there are some wonderful events) is the NSTHRC Recognition of Excellence CertificationDinner each May. This year, the 18th annual, was held on Wednesday night at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. I love it because members of the industry get together to celebrate those front-line staff and properties who have received national certification creditentials during the past year. Last year, I received professional certification as a Tourism Trainer.

The beautiful table settings.

The beautiful table settings.

Nova Scotia is unique in that as a province, we have the highest number of certified tourism professionals in Canada! In fact, our tourism department is committed to ensuring that 100% of our Provincial Visitor Information Centre employees are certified.

This year, I had the distint pleasure of cheering for three of my former NSCC Tourism Management students, Theresa, Heather and Jeff, as they received their national certifications as  a Heritage Interpreter. I’m so proud of all three of them and so happy I could be there to share in their special moment! Congratulations to all three of you!

If you’re in the Truro area, you can meet these three tourism professionals at the Glooscap Heritage Centre and perhaps one of them will give you a tour! Tell them Anne sent you… 😉

Jeff, Theresa, Anne & Heather - a tourism management reunion at the opening reception!

Jeff, Theresa, Anne & Heather – an NSCC Tourism Management reunion!

Our newest Nova Scotia tourism professionals - Jeff, Heather, and Theresa with their Heritage Interpreter certifications!