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Terence J. O’Reilly

Terence J OReillyHonorary Diploma recipient Terence J. O'Reilly with Glenn Vollebregt and Michael Adamcryk

A life led drawing on a strong moral compass, and the philosophy of servant leadership, has driven Terence (Terry) J. O’Reilly’s dedication to his community, family, country, and profession.

Growing up in Toronto, Terry’s childhood was rooted in his neighbourhood, playing backyard ice hockey and working a paper route. His parents instilled in him a shared set of values that included integrity, generosity, and a strong work ethic.

Terry brought those values to his career in public service, which included a rewarding experience as Chief of Staff for a federal Cabinet Minister. Terry cites Pierre Elliott Trudeau and John F. Kennedy as leaders whose actions inspired his own. “For the most part, they led from principles, and tended to develop policy around those principles,” says Terry. “I think they were both models of strong personal values translated into influencing our society for the better.”

Terry’s current role is principal owner and President and CEO of Pricedex Software, a successful software technology firm. Since relocating Pricedex from Kanata to Brockville in 1999, Terry has endeavoured to serve and improve the quality of life in the community in which he runs his business.

A true ambassador for the city of Brockville, Terry has been actively involved in the promotion of Brockville as a business destination, and was an instrumental contributor to the Mayor’s Vision 20/20 Task Force on Economic Development.  He has been a long-time supporter and fundraiser for United Way Leeds & Grenville, serving two terms as its Fundraising Campaign Chair. Amongst a range of actions supporting local charities and sporting activities, Terry and his company also ran an independent fundraiser, the Pricedex Pool Tournament, which successfully raised more than $150,000 over a twelve year span for United Way Leeds & Grenville.

One of Terry’s early vocations was singing in upscale lounges and dining rooms. Since that time, he has weaved together his passion for music and the arts with his passion for contributing to the quality of life in his community, fostering theatre arts in Brockville.  From local high school productions, to the Brockville Arts Centre’s Pricedex Summer Series, of which he is the founding season sponsor, Terry’s unwavering support of local arts programming has added vibrancy to the Brockville area. Terry was an early and active contributor to the Brockville Arts Centre refurbishment, Project Encore, and was elected to its Performing Arts Hall of Fame as both a Performer and a Promoter in 2016.

At St. Lawrence College, where he served on the Board of Governors from 2002 to 2008, Terry’s support of the arts and his embodiment of servant-leadership have produced lasting effects. Terry was actively involved in the fundraising and planning of the Brockville campus’ student residence and was instrumental in the establishment of the Music Theatre - Performance three-year diploma program, as well as instituting the Justin O’Reilly Memorial Bursary, awarded annually to a deserving Music Theatre – Performance student.

Through Terry’s support and Pricedex season sponsorship of the Music Theatre – Performance program’s productions, hundreds of students have benefitted from experiential learning opportunities performing on stage at the Brockville Arts Centre for members of the community.

Terry’s philanthropy extends beyond his generous financial support. He also generously gives a substantial amount of his time and expertise to the benefit of local organizations and important community initiatives. His example serves as a message and inspiration to graduating students starting out on their careers that, even without the financial means, all individuals can contribute and positively impact their community through acts of service and the generous giving of time, skill, and leadership.

“I believe that the fundamental characteristics of integrity, honesty, ethics, fairness, and morality shape everything we do in life,” says Terry. “If we are consistent with that, it also spawns other leadership qualities, such as trustworthiness, accountability, creativity, and the ability to motivate others.”

“Sharing Terry’s story will help St. Lawrence College graduates to understand – as Terry does - that success isn’t measured by what we accomplish in our professional careers alone, but in the positive change we work to make in the lives of those around us,” says Steve Clark, MPP, Leeds-Grenville.

For his activities stretching beyond the boundaries of Leeds and Grenville, Terry has been awarded both the Canada 125 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee awards for his countless contributions to the betterment of our nation through public service.

Terry’s advice for St. Lawrence College’s graduating students is, “Refuse to fail,” a perfectly succinct reflection of his tenacious spirit. “I was raised to be positive and then I have learned, over the years, that there is no business or personal situation so grave or foreboding that I should allow it to consume my spirit, drive or motivation,” says Terry. “When times get tough, you must face the challenge head on, but it is important at those times to inject some fun and good spirit to help you through.”

Dr. Rachel Navaneelan

Dr. Rachel NavaneelanHonorary Diploma recipient Dr. Rachel Navaneelan with Glenn Vollebregt

For dentist Dr. Rachel Navaneelan, the concept of giving back to her community takes on a global reach. From her local community in Cornwall to her birthplace of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dr. Rachel’s extensive charitable work has positively impacted countless individuals.

One of six children, Dr. Rachel was raised in Colombo by her mother and father, a physician who instilled in her the spirit of philanthropy at a young age. “I had a very happy childhood,” says Dr. Rachel. “My father was always helping people by providing free medical treatment and donations to charitable organizations. He taught me to give back to others and instilled in me the value of integrity and a hard work ethic, which I have tried to instill in my own children.”

Dr. Rachel and her husband, an anesthesiologist, lived in Ireland for several years before moving to Canada to give their children the best life possible. They lived in Newfoundland before moving to Cornwall in 1993. In the past 25 years, Dr. Rachel has raised her children, established roots in the Cornwall community, and built a successful dentistry practice. “I love what I do,” says Dr. Rachel. “I love getting to know my patients and changing their lives through their smile.”

Dr. Rachel changes lives in other ways as well.

On December 26, 2004, Dr. Rachel’s home country of Sri Lanka was struck by the tsunami produced by the Indian Ocean earthquake, displacing 1.5 million residents and resulting in more than 30,000 deaths and 21,000 injuries. Dr. Rachel was particularly devastated to hear about how the tsunami affected the children in Sri Lanka. “I have always had a soft spot for children. I felt compelled to do something,” says Dr. Rachel.

What started as a small fundraiser grew into a large charitable organization. In 2004, Dr. Rachel founded The Rachel’s Kids Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children through health, wellness, and education initiatives both locally and overseas. While Dr. Rachel continues to travel internationally to volunteer and work with children, her deep commitment to giving back to Cornwall, the community that embraced her 25 years ago, is evident.

Over the years, Rachel’s Kids and Dr. Rachel have worked to fulfill specific needs in the Cornwall community, collaborating with numerous organizations including the Children’s Treatment Centre, Cornwall Community Hospital, Victim Services of SDG&A, Koala Place, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cornwall & District, and St. Vincent de Paul Society, among others.

“Dr. Rachel is a committed and dedicated child advocate and community worker. She has worked tirelessly and contributed greatly to improve the quality of life of children in Cornwall, as well as internationally,” says Kim Lauzon, Executive Director of The Rachel’s Kids Foundation.

Rachel’s Kids launched two initiatives in 2014 that focus on local children battling life-threatening and chronic illnesses and their families: Small Moments of Joy grants wishes to sick children, while Helping Hands provides financial relief to families whose children are undergoing medical treatment. In 2017, Rachel’s Kids opened House of Hope, a centre where children with autism and learning disabilities can spend time in a state-of-the-art sensory room.

Dr. Rachel has also found a way to blend her profession with her passion for helping others. Dr. Rachel participates in the nationwide campaign Dentistry from the Heart by hosting an annual event at her dental clinic in which Dr. Rachel and her employees provide dental procedures free of charge to more than 100 local individuals who are unable to afford dental care.

“I’m a strong believer in giving back to the Cornwall community as it has been so great to me since I arrived here and started my dentistry practice 25 years ago,” says Dr. Rachel. “All children locally and globally hold a special place in my heart and this is the reason why I started Rachel's Kids House of Hope, so I could support children and families in need right here in our community.”

The community in which Dr. Rachel lives, works, and serves continues to recognize her for the incredible impact she has on the lives of local children. The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce presented Dr. Rachel with the Dr. Garth Taylor Humanitarian Award in 2009, and in 2017 the Chamber named Dr. Rachel Citizen of the Year.

For graduating students about to embark on careers, Dr. Rachel offers the following advice: “Be prepared for hard work and dedication. Your chosen profession may go beyond the traditional 9-5 work hours and require you to make sacrifices, but if you are passionate about the work you do, your career can be very rewarding. And if you are able, find a way to help others – this can be the most rewarding experience of all.”