(The Open Door Educational Services Administrative Team, l to r, Leigha Brigham, Emily Dale, Heather Desjardins, Marla Ruta. Photo: J. Donald Lafontaine)
The Ottawa Board of Trade (OBT) and the Ottawa Business Journal (OBJ) had a difficult undertaking to extract 40 community-minded young business leaders from the 160 applications that were received for their joint initiative ‘Forty Under 40’. The 2019 ‘Forty Under 40’ awards recognize business leaders under the age of 40 in the Ottawa area. The award is based on three main criteria that include — business success, community service, and demonstrated expertise in your field.
Heather Desjardins, founder and owner of Stittsville’s The Open Door Educational Services, was one of the 40 recognized business leaders. Open Door performs exceptional work with students (one-on-one and in-home) who have learning disabilities.
“There was such an amazing group of recipients this year that it truly is an honour to be counted among them”, Heather told Stittsville Central. She added, “my background, training, and education are all in the field of education – not business. It was a big risk to leave my stable and secure a teaching job in special education to start The Open Door”.
“These young business leaders represent the pioneering and visionary thinking that will generate tremendous economic growth in our community, and puts the region on track as the centre of talent attraction and innovation in Canada,” said Ian Faris, president and CEO of the OBT.
OBJ publisher Michael Curran said, “It’s hard to quantify this, but I believe the general quality of the nominations continues to improve, making the selection process difficult.
Past recipients Iwona Albrecht of Soloway Wright, Donna Baker of Keynote Group, Jason Daley of Axia Strategists and Patrick Dion of Patrick Dion Consulting as well as Curran, Faris and Robert Rheaume of BDO Canada made up the independent judging panel.
Heather did not want to take all of the praise and conveyed that “I’d also like to share that I would not have been able to achieve this and to have been able to help so many without my incredible team. They are amazing at what they do and I am so grateful for them”.
An incredible award for a tremendous person, staff and business that assists students one day at a time and it is right here in Stittsville. Congratulations Heather, Leigha, Emily and Marla.
You may recall that earlier this year Stittsville Central had an article about Heather being awarded the Bootstrap Award as Founder of the Year. You can discover more about Open Door and the services provided at — www.theopendoor.ca.