Dr. Jean Hollebone
For seven years I have held Board positions on the Canadian Orchid Congress, COC, which is the Canadian umbrella organization for the 28 Canadian affiliated orchid societies and 3 (AOS- sanctioned) Canadian judging centres. I am currently president, and some of the experience I have gained in governance, fiscal management and strategic planning of a not- for- profit NGO, may be helpful in working towards solutions within the larger AOS organization. I welcome an opportunity to contribute to both problem solving and strategic repositioning and, also in some measure, to be able to return something to the organization and hobby which has given me and my long suffering husband Bryan, so much in the way of friendships, knowledge and pleasure over the last 25+ years.
Our first exposure to orchids occurred as graduate students in London, England. In the 60’s, Kew Garden working greenhouses were open to the public and it was possible to see orchids in close proximity on the benches. I was thrilled and uplifted by the amazing colours and forms of the cattleyas in the warm house, and as students living in an unheated flat, we visited often. However, it wasn’t until the late 80’s that I was given my first orchid, a Phalaenopsis seedling, and joined the local Ottawa Orchid Society (OOS) for advice and help. I loved the enthusiasm, eagerness for knowledge and warm atmosphere of this society, and soon one led to two and two to three and so on. I have been growing a small collection of orchids for pleasure ever since, now in a solarium and in an automated growing room built by Bryan in our basement.
I was quickly co-opted onto the OOS Executive in the 1980’s and have been more or less on the Board ever since as secretary, show table manager, and show registrar, AOS rep and am currently COC representative for the OOS. I take displays to other AOS-sanctioned shows, host visitors to our society meetings and participate in census-taking at Purdon Fen, our local conservation reserve of Cypripedium reginae.
As national President of the COC (2008-10), my chief focus has been on increasing membership by addressing needs and expanding services, encouraging and supporting local societies, on improved governance (planning and administrative capacity and capability of the COC Board management team), balancing the budget and setting the COC on a firm forward financial basis. I am proud of the accomplishments of our Board over my two year term. We began by asking affiliated societies what they wanted from the COC, and prioritized projects to achieve desired outcomes:
Professionally, I have degrees from Carleton University, Canada (biology), the University of Wisconsin, (MSc, entomology) and Imperial College, University of London (PhD, insect physiology). I worked for 30 years for Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as an executive in government regulation of pesticides, biotechnology, plant protection and in research. In my final two years, I worked in the Science Secretariat coordinating and resolving science issues across 13 departments in the Government of Canada. My strengths were in governance, strategic planning, regulation, and international liaison and agreements. In 2003, I was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for service to Canada including work on the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, and international guidelines for the regulation of products of biotechnology. I enjoyed working with US colleagues in USDA, EPA, FDA and DHS. In retirement, I opted to follow a life- long passion and obtained certification as a floral designer and now spend my week, split between working in a local flower shop and my work for the COC. Naturally, orchids are my favorite design elements. I am married to Bryan, a physical chemist retired from Carleton University and now running an environmental contaminants analytical analysis company. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren who prefer canoeing and kayaking to orchids.