by Laura Dillman Ripley
Sometimes you just have to try things. That’s a mantra Mount Allison University grad Sarah LeBlanc (‘06) lives by and one she is helping non-profits and other public and private organizations benefit from.
“I really believe in the value of public organizations and non-profits that serve our communities,” says LeBlanc, a social and organizational change strategist based in Montreal, QC. “My works seeks to help these organizations find strategies that can make them more efficient and innovative with limited resources.”
Some of LeBlanc’s roster of clients includes Ongozah.com, the YWCA, and the Government of New Brunswick.
Prior to moving to Montreal in early 2016, LeBlanc, who is originally from Dieppe, NB, worked as executive director of le Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick (RFNB), an organization that aims to represent francophone women in the province.
LeBlanc was one of the first staff members at the RFNB, established in 2007. Along with lobbying for change on behalf of New Brunswick women, she was also tasked with establishing the new organization, and working to form relationships with government officials and other non-profit organizations in both the francophone and anglophone sectors of the province.
“In the early days, it was just me in the office (of the RFNB),” she says. “We grew to include a team of six people.”
Under LeBlanc’s mandate, the RFNB saw many milestones, including the establishment of the New Brunswick Voices of Women Consensus Building Forum, as well as the provincial government’s adoption of a gender-based analysis for new government policies.
“I’m proud of the roles we played in these changes in New Brunswick, along with several other lobbying groups and organizations,” says LeBlanc.
LeBlanc also worked on Parliament Hill for two years in the office of well-known Senator and celebrated humanitarian Roméo Dallaire. During this time (between 2006 and 2008), Dallaire’s office handled many high-profile files including the Omar Khadr case, child soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the adoption of Bill C-293, concerning the provision of official development assistance abroad. The aim of the bill was to center Canada's official development assistance abroad around poverty reduction.
“Working on Parliament Hill was an amazing experience, you learn so much,” says LeBlanc. “I am grateful for my time in Ottawa as an administrative and legislative assistant for Senator Dallaire.”
LeBlanc also credits her alma mater for its impact on her budding career.
“As a student, I always felt that everyone at Mount A was out to change the world. It was a wonderful environment to be part of, and one I’ve grown to appreciate since leaving there,” she says.
Coming to campus from a francophone background, LeBlanc says both students and faculty played key roles in her education and future career choices.
“As a student I started a discussion and action group on gender issues, which received a lot of support from my peers. Academically, I worked with so many great professors including Dr. Loralea Michaelis in political science and (the late) Dr. Marie Hammond-Callaghan in what was then women’s studies. Both had a huge impact on my career choices.”
LeBlanc returned to campus in 2015 for the first Women in Leadership conference at Mount Allison where she facilitated a panel discussion and participated in a mentorship event.
“It is always great to go back to Mount Allison and be part of this community again,” she says.
Learn more about Sarah LeBlanc’s consulting company
This article appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of The Record, Mount Allison University’s Magazine for Alumni & Friends. Reprinted with permission. / Photo credit: Louis-Philippe Chiasson.