Tuesday, 10 May 2016
What a humbling surprise and honour to not only be one of the 2015 Latornell Leadership Award recipients, but to also be selected as the Master of Ceremonies for the 2016 Leadership Awards Banquet! What a wonderful way to finish an amazing career in conservation and the environment and start my retirement.
To many of you, the name Art Latornell will mean something and it should. Whether you knew Art or not by attending the Latornell Symposium you are benefiting from his dedication and generosity and helping fulfill his vision. Art was very big on giving youth opportunities and seeing what they could do with it. He was respected by all those who knew him.
I was fortunate to know and work with Art Latornell. Never, during my forty year career did I achieve the level of calm, collect and compassion that Art Latornell lived his life by. As my mentor I would often turn to Art for advice. He was in no way a micro-manager, if fact the complete opposite. Art would listen to my issues and yearning for advice. Through his quiet comments and questions he would have me resolve my own problems. When two or more people were together with Art he would challenge us with a problem and then stand back and listen to the ensuing debate. This debate often provided answers to current challenges.
Art’s legacy continues to grow, through this Symposium, and now at the University of Guelph. In April of this year, the University of Guelph announced the Latornell Professorship in Environmental Stewardship. Through a collaborative effort between the Latornell Endowment Committee and the University of Guelph, this new professorship was made possible. Art would be pleased.
To me the value of the Latornell Leadership Award is priceless. I want to thank the Sympoisum organizing committee for taking the extra effort to acknowledge individuals who strive to be the mentor that Art Latornell was. If there is someone you work with who you feel has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the conservation sector, I encourage you to nominate them for this prestigious award! You can find more information and the necessary forms on the Latornell website.
I would like to leave you with a challenge provided to me by my eight year old granddaughter, Mercedes Prout; “Let us open our minds together and breathe in the fresh air that our world makes. Let us take the time to find out what we can do to make our world a better place. We can make a difference together.”
Tom Prout was the General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority in Exeter Ontario for more than three decades. Tom's life-long, and outstanding contributions to the conservation sector earned him a Latornell Leadership Award in 2015. Tom will be our Master of Ceremonies for this year's Latornell Leadership Awards.