Give a warm welcome to our second Awesome Women profile, Ms. Phyllis Winngton-Ingram!
Jaime met Phyllis a few weeks ago but it’s clear they knew each other in another life! Read on for more about this fascinating, awesome woman.
Phyllis Winnington-Ingram has a proven track record of creating successful solutions to local challenges. She’s done this by listening to local communities and developing pragmatic, collaborative options. This has resulted in the development of two new models; the Community Cooperative, a social economic development model specifically designed to assist rural communities who have been disenfranchised; and ‘Principle Centered Governance’, a model of governance that puts unity before politics. Her work has garnered her two provincial awards for innovation and a nomination for a Women of Distinction award.
Phyllis was then invited to share her results with 14 departments of the Canadian government which helped to generate $15 million of new funding for the co-operative sector; $8 million of that for innovative new models. Her work has been published in academic and sector journals nationally and internationally and she has been a guest speaker throughout North America.
Phyllis has been a local business owner for 18 years and operates Winnington-Ingram & Associates, a research and community development consulting firm. She has incorporated and or developed over a dozen local, regional, provincial and national non-profit organizations, as well as being appointed for 5 years on a federal advisory committee.
Phyllis is committed to cooperative, collaborative approaches that encourage dialogue, mutual respect and positive solutions.
1. What is one of your favorite books?
- The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran – for its spiritual depth
- Mercy Among the Children – David Adams Richards – a dark, seemly endless number of difficult and sad events with an ending that is mesmerizing and thought provoking. It was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and won the Giller Prize – the top book award in Canada.
- Happiness – Will Ferguson – Winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour (top Humour award in Canada)
- Best Laid Plan – Terry Fallis – Again winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour
All fabulous books if you have a chance to read them. The last two had me rolling with laughter and had people asking me what I was reading!
2. What is an adversity you’ve faced in your life and how did you come out the other side?
My mother passed away when I was 14. I was the oldest of 4 children and grew up in a beautiful home in the heart of cottage country. I spent many years pushing the boundaries and trying not to deal with it. It is only when I became a mother of my own daughter that I decided to rewrite history and step into being the leader of my life. I started University at 27 as a single mother of a 3 year old and graduated with Honours 5 years later. I volunteered in numerous positions and was offered a research position. I was able to transform that position within two years by creating a new community model and being awarded over ¼ million in funding to pilot the model in 4 community in the District of Muskoka. I boldly asked the founding board to contract my new company and they agreed. I then went on to take on numerous other projects, employed 21 people, bought a house and raised my daughter as a single parent.
I volunteered in numerous positions and was offered a research position. I was able to transform that position within two years by creating a new community model and being awarded over ¼ million in funding to pilot the model in 4 community in the District of Muskoka. I boldly asked the founding board to contract my new company and they agreed. I then went on to take on numerous other projects, employ 21 people, buy a house and raise my daughter as a single parent.
3. Name 1 or 2 awesome women who inspire you and why.
One person who has always inspired me was Oprah Winfrey. Her ability to transform her life and her ability to inspire others. The other person is Fran Cowan, who is now 101 years old. She took me in when I was 17 and made sure I finished school. She was my cheering squad when I went to University as an adult. She has cried with me when my heart was broken and laughed with me in utter delight when times were good. She was my spiritual mentor and my adopted mom.
4. What makes something or someone awesome in your opinion?
What makes someone awesome in my opinion is someone who can rise above their circumstances and lift others up along the way.