Leadership Windsor/Essex recently recognized 40 civic-minded community leaders who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to Windsor-Essex County by selflessly undertaking goodwill activities and/or promoting community service for the betterment of the region.
The Department of Kinesiology had one alumnae and one current Masters student recognized at the event: Lina- Marie Mastronardi and Austin Roth. Lina-Marie is a graduate from the MHK program at Windsor (2005) who now works at Stewart Fisher as an investment representative. Austin Roth is a current MHK student who is nearing completion of his degree and is looking to go to Law School in the fall.
Recently, we interviewed Lina and Austin and asked them about their own personal leadership and why they invest so much personal time and effort into their various initiatives.
HK: Why do you believe that you were recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 Leaders in Windsor/ Essex?
Lina: I am a community ambassador for the Canadian Cancer Society with whom I have volunteered for the last eight years and I have been a committee member for the ALS Windsor Walk for roughly the same length of time. I became involved with these charities after losing my father to cancer and my mother to ALS in 2008. The highlight of my charity work was in 2015 when my brothers and I raised $62,000 for the new Hospice Erie Shores Campus and were able to have the nurses station named in memory of our parents.
Austin: I was heavily involved in the success of the LSRC referendum as well as coaching the Lancer Track and Field Team. These are initiatives that I am fully invested in. Having the LSRC project be part of the campus transformation plan meant that I was going to help play some part of growing the future of my University and forever change - for the positive- the reputation of our school. Windsor is a fantastic place to learn, work and live and having come to Windsor almost nine years ago to run track for Dennis Fairall, be part of the HK family and further my education I knew that the LSRC project was the right thing to be part of.
Why is leadership important to you?
Lina: Being involved in our community and giving back to this region has been especially important to me over the past 10 years after having experienced how resourceful and supportive the many local non-profit organizations are when dealing with life-changing illnesses in your family. I have experienced so much enjoyment and fulfillment from volunteering and it has given me a renewed vision that has allowed me to grow in both my personal and professional life.
What does leadership look like to you?
Lina: Being a great community leader means being dedicated, compassionate and walking beside others, not leading from above.
Austin: Leadership is a very difficult concept to define as it is unique to each individual but for myself, I see it as wanting to take action to make something positive happen. There are times when you will take on a leadership role and it all works out but other times it can set you back in other parts of your life but knowing you played a part in a positive change for others is what leadership means. You might only lay on brick or finish a whole wall but being able to play that part is what leadership is about.
How do you see your leadership evolving into the future?
Lina: I hope to continue sharing the same kind of support and compassion that my family was fortunate enough to receive with others in the Windsor/Essex community. It is empowering to know that I am making a difference in people’s lives, especially when working alongside other volunteers who share the same mission.
Austin: My goal is to start law school in the fall here in Windsor and continue my education. I see that as the next step in developing my leadership abilities. As the Student Advocate for the Graduate Student Society, I see my role there as part of my big picture. Coaching, advocating, helping others achieve their goals and learning more is what drives me to continue to move forward.